UN Security Council condemns deadly attacks on aid workers in Afghanistan

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5 Dec 2013

UN Security Council condemns deadly attacks on aid workers in Afghanistan

NEW YORK - The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned recent attacks on development and humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths of nine people and left another injured.

“The members of the Security Council condemned acts of violence against development workers and humanitarian personnel,” the 15 members of the Council said in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

“The members of the Security Council underlined that personnel targeted in these attacks are undertaking essential work in support of the Afghan people, and that the continuation of attacks against development workers and humanitarian personnel significantly impedes the delivery of this important assistance to Afghanistan,” the Council statement continued.

The attacks occurred late last month. On 26 November, in the southern province of Uruzgan, three Afghans working on a village development project were killed by the explosion of a remote controlled device. The next day, in the north-western province of Faryab, six Afghans working for a French non-governmental organization, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), were killed by gunmen during an ambush which left a seventh national staff member with serious injuries.

The Security Council members emphasized the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of “these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice,” and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Afghan authorities in this regard.

They reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations was “criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed, and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.”

“The members of the Security Council reiterated that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability in Afghanistan, which is supported by the people and the Government of Afghanistan and the international community,” the Council members added.

“These tragic incidents illustrate the growing risks surrounding the delivery of aid and the increasing disrespect for humanitarian personnel in Afghanistan,” the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, said last week following the attacks in Uruzgan and Faryab.

“I am extremely concerned with this trend at a time when the country is in the midst of a difficult transition that may lead to increased humanitarian needs,” Mr. Bowden added. “While humanitarian organisations remain focused on finding ways to continue their work in Afghanistan despite these cowardly acts, respect for their security is essential for them to stay and deliver.”

The UN official, who also serves as a deputy head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), also called upon all actors to respect and uphold the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian workers and to abide by international humanitarian laws.

According to the October 2013 Aid Worker Security Report, Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world for aid workers. So far this year, the United Nations has recorded 237 incidences against humanitarian personnel, facilities and assets in the country. These account for 36 deaths, 24 detentions, 46 injuries and the abduction of 72 personnel.