Afghanistan: Authorities must ensure civilian victims have access to justice

As efforts to initiate discussion on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan begin, the latest UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan`s (UNAMA) 2018 report on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” declares a record high number of civilian casualty in Afghanistan with a staggering number of 10,993 civilian casualties reported in 2018.  

Responding to UNAMA`s report, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner Samira Hamidi said:

“The UNAMA report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan is deeply alarming. It reports 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,804 civilian deaths and 7,189 injuries. The shocking number of dead and injured civilians in Afghanistan once again demonstrates the need for victims to access justice and reparations, and the need to create an environment of accountability.”

The increase in civilian casualties have been attributed to attacks perpetrated by Anti-Government Elements (AGEs) such as the Taliban, Daesh/Islamic State Khorosan Province (ISKP) along with pro government forces as well. According to the report, “2018 witnessed the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded from suicide attacks and aerial operations.”  

“Women and children continue to bear the brunt, suffering the worst of the violence. 927 children were killed in 2018 which is the highest number recorded and is extremely disturbing,” said Samira Hamidi.

“The authorities in Afghanistan must ensure respect for the rights of the victims of these attacks during any peace negotiations, which must include their participation and consultation in the process. All parties to the conflict must immediately end attacks directed at civilians and must prioritise steps to prevent harming civilian and civilian objects during combat.”