Afghanistan: UN stresses need to protect civilians amid reported abuses in Kunduz

Nicholas Haysom. Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA

30 September 2015 – Amid reports of extrajudicial executions, abductions and other abuses in Kunduz following this week’s attack by the Taliban, the United Nations today reminded all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan of their obligations to protect civilians and to respect human rights at all times.

“I am deeply concerned about the situation in Kunduz following the Taliban’s attack on the city,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“The reports of extrajudicial executions, including of healthcare workers, abductions, denial of medical care and restrictions on movement out of the city are particularly disturbing,” he stated in a press statement.

Preliminary information indicates that the current fighting has caused more than 100 civilian deaths and injuries, and there are concerns the number of casualties will rise. The UN has also received reports that up to 6,000 civilians have fled the city due to the fighting.

“The protection of civilians must remain at the core of any response to the current situation in Kunduz and Taliban and Afghan security forces must take all feasible actions to prevent civilian casualties,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan.

“Parties to the conflict must not use improvised explosive devices and indirect heavy weapons in populated areas of the city. Wounded persons must be allowed access to medical facilities for treatment and parties to the conflict must not restrict the work of humanitarian and medical personnel.”

Yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged both parties to the conflict to take all measures to protect civilians from harm and to take all feasible steps to prevent the loss of life and injuries to civilians.

“The situation in Kunduz threatens to severely undermine the progress Afghanistan has made in restoring peace, stability and the rule of law, which is what all Afghans deserve,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.


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In wake of Taliban attack, UN rights chief urges protection of civilians in Afghan city of Kunduz

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