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Afghanistan

    June 18, 2013

    Afghanistan’s security forces must do everything in their power to avoid and account for civilian casualties, Amnesty International said today as the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) handed over responsibility for maintaining security in the country.

    The organization also calls on the Afghan authorities to investigate allegations of civilian casualties amid operations carried out by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

    “The ANSF are obliged under international law to ensure accountability for their actions and to provide remedy for civilian casualties of military action,” said Polly Truscott, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Program.

    According to UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) civilian casualties from ANSF operations increased in 2012, however ANSF leadership has been reluctant to acknowledge let alone take for responsibility for civilian casualties when they occur. Numbers of civilian casualties by ANSF may therefore be under-reported.

    June 03, 2013

    International and Afghan military forces must preserve the modest human rights gains of the past 12 years and ensure that the rights of the Afghan people are protected during and after the ongoing security transition, Amnesty International said ahead of this week’s NATO meeting in Brussels.

    NATO defence ministers are meeting in Brussels on 4-5 June to discuss, among other things, the progress of transition of security responsibilities from NATO/ISAF forces to the national Afghan army and the post-2014 “transformation period”.

    “Afghanistan is going through a crucial period with the security transition well under way, and it is vital that human rights are not forgotten by the Afghan government or its international partners during this process,” Isabelle Arradon, Deputy Asia Pacific Director of Amnesty International said.

    “The country is still facing enormous human rights challenges that must be top of any agenda that concerns Afghanistan’s future.”

    May 30, 2013

    Attacks by armed groups on humanitarian organizations amount to war crimes and must end immediately, Amnesty International said following the brutal assault by unidentified armed men on an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in eastern Afghanistan.

    “Organizations like the ICRC must be able to carry out their crucial lifesaving work without the fear of violence hanging over them. This attack is an affront to humanity,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    “Those responsible for the assault in Jalalabad must be brought to justice and tried in accordance with international law and standards.”

    Unidentified gunmen and at least one suicide bomber attacked the ICRC office in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, on 29 May, killing one Afghan security guard and wounding another ICRC staff member.

    April 30, 2013

    The public killing of a woman in Afghanistan is further proof that the authorities are still failing to tackle the shocking levels of gender-based violence in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    The woman, who has two children, was shot dead on Monday 22 April by her father in front of a crowd of about 300 people in the village of Kookchaheel, in the Aabkamari district of Badghis province in north-western Afghanistan.

    The woman, named Halima and believed to be between 18 and 20 years old, was accused of running away with a male cousin while her husband was in Iran. Her cousin returned Halima to her relatives 10 days after running away with her. His whereabouts are unknown.

    “Violence against women continues to be endemic in Afghanistan and those responsible very rarely face justice,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan researcher at Amnesty International.

    The killing came after three of the village’s religious leaders, allegedly linked to the Taliban, issued a fatwa (religious edict) that Halima should be killed publicly, after her father sought their advice about his daughter’s elopement.

    April 19, 2013

    Medical personnel must be respected and protected, Amnesty International said after two employees of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) were killed in a shocking attack.

    One other ARCS employee was injured in the attack on Tuesday in the Khanaqah district of Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan as the mobile clinic they were travelling in came under fire from close range, despite it being clearly marked with the ARCS logo.

    "It is an all too common occurrence that medical personnel and humanitarian aid workers have been attacked in Afghanistan,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Attacks by any party to the conflict on medical personnel, units and transports are a violation of International Humanitarian Law. An intentional attack on such persons or objects is a war crime.”

    The ARCS personnel were attacked at around 5pm while returning to the provincial capital Shiberghan after giving medical aid to people in remote areas.

    April 09, 2013

    A recent spike in civilian deaths in Afghanistan highlights the urgent need for all parties to the conflict to take greater precautions to avoid civilian casualties, Amnesty International said today.

    On Monday, at least nine civilians were killed and 20 injured after a bus hit a roadside bomb in Wardak province, in the east of the country. It is believed the Taliban are responsible for the attack.

    A day earlier at least 12 civilians, including 10 children, were reportedly killed in the eastern province of Kunar in NATO airstrikes launched during a drawn-out fire fight between international (ISAF) and Afghan forces and the Taliban.

    “It is imperative that NATO/ISAF fully investigate all allegations of civilian casualties resulting from their operations and deliver remedies, including prosecuting those suspected of violations. They must also provide compensation before troops withdraw next year, to avoid a legacy of unresolved claims,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director

    You are invited to a discussion with Beatrice Vaugrante, ED of Amnesty International Canada (French Speaking), followed by the documentary Voyage en barbarie by Delphine Deloget and Cécile Allegra, which won the 2015 Albert Londres Award. 

    Why does the Mediterranean sea carry so many ghosts? Why is Europe unable to welcome them properly? Why is Europe not taking notice of those who are wounded? Something is happening on the other side of the Mediterranean, something dreadful, unknown, and extremely difficult to unveil. East Africa, an enchanting and mythical land where the Nile takes its source has now turned into a giant trap. Since 2008, thousands of young Africans have been kidnapped, then sold to Bedouin traffickers and deported to the north-east of the Sinai desert, in Egypt.

    Contact: 416-922-2014 #37;  culturel@alliance-francaise.ca

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