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Baseless investigations, prosecutions and convictions of human rights defenders, journalists, opposition politicians and others persisted. Parliament introduced draconian amendments to existing laws that further restricted freedom of expression online. Police used unlawful force to detain hundreds of participants in banned Pride marches in several provinces, and the right to peaceful assembly remained severely curtailed. The Council of State declined to overturn a 2021 decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. The country continued to host the world’s largest number of refugees, but violent summary returns of Afghans and others resulted in deaths and other serious injuries, against a backdrop of rising anti-refugee racist rhetoric by politicians and in the media. There were serious and credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.

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