11 July 2011 The United Nations has strongly condemned the brutal killing of four de-miners in the western Afghan province of Farah, stating that attacks on those who deliver humanitarian services are totally unacceptable.
The four – who worked for the De-mining Agency for Afghanistan – were among 31 individuals who were first abducted while working on life-saving activities in Balabuluk district on 6 July, according to a statement released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
“De-miners are providing life-saving services to vulnerable Afghans regardless of any political, religious, ethnic or geographical consideration,” said Michael Keating, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan.
The head of the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan (MACCA), Alan Macdonald, said he was appalled by the killings, and called on all Afghans to “support and respect the efforts being made by their fellow countrymen to clear Afghanistan of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.”
UNAMA stressed that attacks on those who deliver humanitarian services are against international humanitarian law, adding that such attacks are “totally unacceptable.”
“The United Nations urges the Government and all those in a position of responsibility to do everything possible to investigate this unprecedented incident and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the Mission said in a statement.
The widespread and indiscriminate use of mines during more than two decades of conflict has turned Afghanistan into one of the world’s most heavily contaminated countries. Every month, an average of 40 people are killed or injured by landmines and explosive remnants of war in the country.
So far more than 15,000 landmine-contaminated areas in Afghanistan – representing more than two-thirds of the affected territory – have been cleared and handed back to local communities.
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