17/08/2001
Press Release
SG/SM/7917



SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS TALIBAN'S DENIAL OF CONSULAR ACCESS TO DETAINEES


COULD HAVE CONSEQUENCES FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE


Following is the text of a statement issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:


The Secretary-General remains concerned at the continued detention of eight international and 16 national staff of Shelter Now International by the Taliban.  He regrets that, contrary to customary international law, consular access and legal representation for the detainees have been denied.  This gives a signal that could have severe consequences on critical humanitarian assistance at a time when Afghans are suffering the combined effects of war, extreme poverty, massive displacement and severe drought.


The Secretary-General appeals to the Taliban for a speedy solution in line with international norms and obligations.


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