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Preserve content of rights abuses in Afghanistan: Human Rights groups to social media platforms

Leading human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Access Now, Mnemonic have called on social media platforms to preserve and archive all content relevant to provide evidence of incidents of human rights abuses in Afghanistan in view of ongoing crisis in the landlocked country. Issuing a statement, international human rights organizations have asked social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to maintain and archive removed material that has potential evidentiary value for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Afghanistan.

Failure could lead to concealing crucial evidence

Furthermore, they have asked social media platforms to ensure that the preserved content is accessible to competent investigators and researchers as well as victims to help them in holding perpetrators accountable for serious crimes. They added that failure to do so could result in concealing significant evidence of human rights abuses.

We call for online platforms to preserve and archive removed content that may have evidentiary value of human rights abuses, including content identified by human rights organizations, while ensuring the privacy and security of vulnerable individuals associated with that content,” the statement said.

Rights groups reminded social media companies of their responsibility to respect all human rights under the ambit of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In this regard, they asked media platforms to take necessary steps to address human rights and avoid contributing to any form of violations.

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‘Work with rights groups, investigators’

Rights groups also called on the platforms to keep the public updated on the measures taken to manage sensitive content related to human rights abuses in Afghanistan. Social media companies must store relevant content with the aim of protecting the privacy rights and safety of individuals associated with that content which could be used effectively in future research and investigations, the statement added.

In conclusion, they reiterate the need for social media companies to work closely with human rights organizations, civil society groups, national law enforcement representatives, internationally mandated investigators, journalists and other stakeholders in instituting a mechanism to preserve and provide access to removed evidentiary content on human rights abuses. It will help rights organizations and investigators in examining, analyzing and reporting on human rights violations committed by various groups in the country.

Recently, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution, demanding the Taliban group to honor their commitment to allow safe and secure departure of people from Afghanistan. The resolution also reaffirmed the significance of upholding human rights, including the rights of children, women and minorities in Afghanistan. In addition, the resolution urges all parties to ensure an inclusive, negotiated political settlement while providing full, equal and meaningful representation to women in key sectors.