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Letter to Helen Clark

10 December 2001

Helen Clark,
Prime Minister,
Parliament Buildings,

Dear Ms Clark,

We are deeply concerned about the reports of events which occurred at Qala-i-Janghi Fort, near Mazar-i-Sharif, in Afghanistan from 25 November to 27 November 2001.

The deaths of between four and five hundred surrendered prisoners, some of whom were later found dead with their hands tied behind their backs, is a serious breach of international law which must be investigated as a matter of urgency. Similarly, the United States air force's air strikes on the Fort where prisoners were being held also require investigation.

There have been calls from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, for a full independent investigation into these events; and into other summary executions of surrendered prisoners, as for example the deaths of one hundred and sixty prisoners in the town of Takeh Pol in Southern Afghanistan in the presence of US military personnel. We wish to know if your government is going to support these calls for full independent investigations ?

We also wish to know if your government will be calling for war crimes trials for all those who have committed atrocities in Afghanistan, regardless of whether or not they are from the United States armed forces, or allies of the United States government ?

Your early reply to this letter would be appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Joan Macdonald.
President, WILPF (Aotearoa).

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