Afghanistan Civilians continue to die in record numbers new UN report shows

Source: UNAMACivilian deaths and injuries in Afghanistan, January to September 2009-2018 No military solution to fightingIn the news release, the top UN official in Afghanistan reiterated his call for an immediate and peaceful settlement to the conflict to end the suffering of the Afghan people.“There can be no military solution to the fighting in Afghanistan,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the country and the head of UNAMA.“All parties can and should do their utmost to protect civilians from harm, including by making concrete progress toward peace.”UNAMA also called on all anti-government elements to “immediately cease” the deliberate targeting of civilians, particularly with the use of illegal and indiscriminate IEDs, and underscored the need on all parties to uphold their obligations under international law, at all times, to protect civilians from harm.Authorized by the Security Council, the UN Mission works to lessen the impact of the conflict on civilians and issues regular reports on the situation. Since 2012, the civilian causality reports have been prepared jointly with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The findings are based on strict verification regime including in depth investigation into the incidents. According to the quarterly update on protection of civilians, issued on Wednesday by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 8,050 civilians died or were wounded between January and September, with use of suicide bombings and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by anti-government elements, accounting for almost half the casualties.“Every civilian death leaves a family devastated, grieving and struggling to come to terms with the loss, and each civilian injured or maimed causes untold suffering,” Danielle Bell, the head of UNAMA’s human rights office, said in a news release.Across the country, Nangarhar, Kabul, Helmand, Ghazni and Faryab provinces recorded the highest number civilian casualties, and for the first time, Nangarhar (located on the border with Pakistan) surpassed the capital Kabul in terms of highest number of deaths and injuries.“The worrying rise in civilian casualties in Nangarhar reflects an unacceptable trend that is indicative of how Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of this ongoing conflict,” added Ms. Bell.The report also found that ground engagements were the second leading cause of civilian casualties, after suicide attacks and IEDs. This was followed by targeted and deliberate killings, aerial operations and explosive remnants of war.Of grave concern was the increasing direct targeting of civilians, including ethnic and religious minorities, noted the report.Actions by pro-Government forces resulted in 761 civilian deaths and 992 injures, while 231 civilians perished and 602 were injured in crossfire between opposing fighters. read more

Two dead in government crackdown as Turkish union calls twoday strike

first_imgONE OF TURKEY’S main trade union confederations has joined protests against the government, after another night of clashes between police and protesters in Istanbul and Ankara.Turkey’s Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) has called a two-day strike from today to protest against the police crackdown on demonstrators.“The state terror implemented against entirely peaceful protests is continuing in a way that threatens civilians’ life safety,” the KESK said Monday in a statement on its website.The police crackdown showed the Islamist-rooted government’s “enmity to democracy”, it said. The left-leaning confederation has some 240,000 members in 11 unions and the action will likely affect schools, universities and public offices across the country.Turkish police and anti-government protesters clashed again in Istanbul earlier today , as the reported death toll from nationwide protests rose to two.Riot police fired tear gas at protestors who burned cars, hurled stones and bellowed angry slogans into the early hours. Similar scenes played out in the capital Ankara.Earlier, as white fumes hung in the air in surrounding streets, thousands of other protestors gathered on Taksim Square, the symbolic heart of the protests.“Tayyip, resign!” they yelled, waving red flags and banners and whistling. AFP reporters saw many demonstrators being carried away by medics.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had already left on a trip to Morocco, had insisted on Monday the situation was calming down. He rejected talk of a “Turkish Spring” uprising by Turks who accuse him of trying to impose Islamic reforms on the secular state.Fifth day of protestsThe clashes, which have rocked scores of cities across Turkey, have now entered a fifth day. Erdogan has blamed the protests on “extremists” and “dissidents” among his opponents and on Monday insisted the situation was calming down.“The Republican People’s Party and other dissidents have a hand in these events,” he said, referring to the main Turkish opposition.A medics’ union earlier Monday said a man had been killed when a car ploughed into protestors in Istanbul on Sunday and earlier today, private television station NTV reported that a 22-year-old man had died after being shot in the head in Hatay province, in the south of the country.The wave of protests began on Friday after police cracked down on a peaceful protest in Istanbul against plans to build over Gezi Park, a rare green spot adjoining Taksim Square.That generated wider anti-government protests in Istanbul, Ankara and dozens of other cities. Rights groups and doctors said more than a thousand people had been injured in clashes in Istanbul and 700 in Ankara.The government’s latest estimate on Sunday put the figure at 58 civilians and 115 security forces injured, with clashes in 67 cities. It also said more than 1,700 people had been arrested across the country but that many had since been released.Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc, who is standing in for Erdogan during his absence from the country, is due to speak to journalists about the unrest at 0900 GMT , the Anatolia news agency reported.The Istanbul stock exchange closed 10 percent lower on Monday and the Turkish lira fell against the euro and the dollar.Since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan has passed contested reforms on religious education and a recent law curbing the sale of alcohol. In 2004 he backed down on a proposed adultery law.Turkey: Protester dies as car crashes into group of demonstratorsRead: Turkish PM maintains hard stance as protests enter fourth daylast_img read more