Ending the conflict is the only sure way to prevent further harm to civilians, say TV panelists in Herat

24 Mar 2019

Ending the conflict is the only sure way to prevent further harm to civilians, say TV panelists in Herat

HERAT -  Ending the conflict is the only sure way to protect civilians from harm said participants at UN-backed TV programmes in the western province of Herat.

In a series of televised discussions, panelists from civil society, women organizations, human rights and community leaders discussed the toll of the conflict on communities and families, particularly women and children.

“The only real way to end civilian casualties is to end the conflict,” said panelist Sayed Ashraf Saddat, a civil society activist. He was speaking in reaction to the disturbingly high number of civilian casualties recorded in the UN’s latest annual report regarding the impact on conflict on civilians, that documents more than 32,000 civilians killed and around 60,000 injured in a decade. “It is civilians who are paying the price for this ongoing fight in Afghanistan,” observed Saddat.

Another panelist, Fatima Farahi commented: “When there is war, there are civilian casualties, particularly women and children.” She called for an end to the war as the only means to stop civilian casualties.

In its recently published report, UNAMA documented a total of 10,993 civilian casualties - 3,804 deaths and 7,189 injured – during 2018. More civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict in 2018 than at any time since records have been kept according to the latest 2018 Protection of Civilians Report. Among the dead were 927 children, the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict during a single year.

The Western province of Herat, much like other provinces has seen worrying increases in civilian casualties. Tens of thousands, particularly women and children, have been displaced, cannot access health services, education or engage in employment. These factors exacerbate their marginalization and push them deeper into poverty.

In making their recommendations, panelists echoed the UN report in calling for dialogue between warring parties, as well as adherence to international and humanitarian laws on the protection of civilians.

Organized by UNAMA regional office in Herat, the TV programmes were aired by media partners and reached an audience of around one million people in Herat and the surrounding districts as part of a countrywide outreach programme aimed at creating platforms – using radio, television and social media – where Afghans can engage in dialogue and discuss critical issues affecting their communities.

UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. Under  its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.