New Taliban sanction regime a step back: UN expert

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A new international sanction regime on the Taliban is a step back for human rights, as it makes the process of removal from the blacklist "openly political", a UN expert said on Wednesday.

The Security Council last week unanimously passed two resolutions which set up separate blacklists for those accused of links with Al-Qaeda and those allegedly linked to the Taliban.

The move is aimed at encouraging the Taliban to join reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

However, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Martin Scheinin said the new sanctions regime on the Taliban "is a retrogressive step in relation to the human rights concerns expressed and the reforms already undertaken within it".

It renders the process of getting off the blacklist "less transparent", he said.

"The grounds for delisting are openly political," assessed the expert, pointing out that individuals or organisations can be removed as long as they meet reconciliation conditions set by the Afghan government and the international community.

In addition, the ombudsman would play "no role in the new Taliban sanctions regime".

"We understand that this is related to the political changes in the situation of Afghanistan and negotiations with the Taliban," said Scheinin.

But he expressed regret that the Security Council has removed the role of the ombudsman, which was included in the previous sanctions regime.

"And hence the delisting under the Taliban regime becomes purely political. This is my concern," he said.

Scheinin was more positive about the new Al-Qaeda sanctions regime, saying that it improved current procedures by removing the requirement of consent from the Security Council to drop an individual or organisation from the blacklist.

According to the new resolution, the ombudsman or assigned state has the power to strike an individual or organisation off the list.

© 2011 AFP

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