South Asia

Afghanistan: UN official urges respect for humanitarian staff

Afghanistan: UN official urges respect for humanitarian staff

| | 03 Dec 2013, 05:23 am
New York, Dec 3 : Expressing deep regret at the recent deaths of nine Afghan aid workers in two separate attacks, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the country has called on all actors in Afghanistan to respect and uphold the neutrality and independence of relief workers.


According to a statement issued over the weekend by Mark Bowden, on 26 November, three Afghans working for a village development project in southern Uruzgan Province were killed by a remote-controlled explosive device.

Further, on 27 November, six Afghans working with the French aid organisation ACTED were ambushed by gunmen as they were travelling in Faryab Province in north-western Afghanistan. A seventh Afghan staff member was seriously injured in that attack and is being treated in a local hospital.

“These tragic incidents illustrate the growing risks surrounding the delivery of aid and the increasing disrespect for humanitarian personnel in Afghanistan, which was identified as the most dangerous country for aid workers by the October 2013 Aid Worker Security Report,” Bowden said.

So far in 2013 in Afghanistan, the UN has recorded 237 incidences against humanitarian personnel, facilities and assets. These account for 36 deaths, 24 detentions, 46 injuries and the abduction of 72 personnel.

He said he is extremely concerned about this trend at a time when the country is in the midst of a difficult transition that may lead to increased humanitarian needs. “I call upon all actors to respect and uphold the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian workers and to abide by international humanitarian laws,” he declared.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) plays a critical and impartial humanitarian role in Afghanistan. Photo: ICRC/Marcel Stoessel