UN reports drop in civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2012

Special Representative Ján Kubiš. Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waezi

30 May 2012 – The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first four months of 2012 is 21 per cent lower than during the same period last year, the top United Nations envoy in the country reported today, while adding that deaths continued to occur at “unacceptable” levels.

A study conducted by the human rights section of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) found there were 579 civilian casualties and 1,216 injuries from 1 January to 30 April this year – the first time that civilian casualty figures have dropped since UNAMA began compiling these figures in 2007.

The vast majority of the deaths this year – 79 per cent – were attributed to actions by anti-government elements. Pro-government forces accounted for nine per cent of the deaths, and 12 per cent of the casualties were unattributed.

“Civilian casualties continue to occur at unacceptable levels,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš, told a news conference in Kabul.

“Regretfully, the anti-government forces don’t show respect for civilians,” he added, noting that the use of landmines and suicide bombers by these forces is “totally unacceptable.”

The annual report on protection of civilians in armed conflict, prepared by UNAMA and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and released in February, recorded 3,021 civilian deaths in 2011 – an increase of eight per cent on the previous year’s total of 2,790.

Since 2007, at least 11,860 civilians have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan between the Government, backed by international forces, and the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

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Civilian casualty numbers in Afghanistan rise again, UN reports

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