For Immediate Release: August 3, 2007
Human Rights First calls upon the Taliban to release immediately all hostages in its custody, including the South Korean civilian aid workers abducted on July 19, 2007.
“The Taliban seems to think that it is perfectly acceptable for them to operate outside the law, but they are wrong. Hostage-taking and summary execution are war crimes and must stop immediately,” said Betsy Apple, director of Human Rights First’s Crimes Against Humanity Program.
The South Korean aid workers, along with another group abducted the previous day, are presumably being detained in an undisclosed location. The Taliban, it is believed, is moving the abductees around regularly, including at least one seriously ill hostage, in order to avoid apprehension.
Hostage taking and summary execution of those in custody are prohibited by Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and customary international law. “The Taliban’s reckless disregard for human life should be condemned by all members of the international community, and the hostages should be released immediately,” added Betsy Apple.