The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed concern over ongoing peace talks not diminishing the intensity of violence and its impact on civilians.
Civilian casualties remain far too high in Afghanistan as per ICRC, as its press release pointed out that data from 2019 suggests that all parties to the conflict must do more to prevent injuries and deaths to everyday Afghans.
“Air bombardments, night raids, and attacks conducted in both rural and populated areas result in the killing and maiming of women, men, and children who had no part in the fighting. Homes, mosques, schools, markets and health care facilities are being hit” the statement said.
As per ICRC’s head of delegation in Afghanistan, Juan-Pedro Schaerer, too little attention is being paid to the suffering of civilians who must be protected and respected at all times”.
Medical workers, too, must be protected and respected by all sides and attacks against health care providers and facilities are too high, with 59 incidents in the first half of 2019, the statement pointed.
All sides must allow patients unhindered access to health services regardless of their affiliation, ICRC urged.
“Attacking a single doctor or nurse undermines life-saving healthcare for everyone. This must stop,” Schaerer said.
The ICRC also expressed deep concern about the fate of people detained by all sides in relation to the conflict, regardless of the side which is holding them.
As per ICRC, detainees must have access to health care, to basics such as clean water, clothing, and hygiene items, and contact with their families. It pointed out that humanitarian needs continue to grow, the security situation makes it difficult for help to reach those in need of food, water, shelter and security.
This year has seen the highest number of incidents involving humanitarian workers in the last few years, it was highlighted.
The ICRC in April was in fact, forced to interrupt some activities, including assistance for the wounded in difficult-to-reach places; facilitating the transfer of patients wounded in war; facilitating the transfer of battlefield dead to their families; and visiting people in detention and facilitating visits and phone calls by their families.
ICRC urged for unhindered access to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid for those affected by the armed conflict, stressing that according to international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need, an activity that is impartial in character.
“Even as talks between the sides continue, all parties to the conflict must do more to protect civilians, civilian property, medical workers and medical facilities,” said Schaerer, “Measures now being taken to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure are not enough.”