UN notes 16pc rise in civilian casualties
JALALABAD (PAN): Afghan civilian casualties have mounted by 16 percent during the first eight months of the current year, compared to the same period last in 2012, a senior UN official says.
The situation in the eastern zone, where a 54 per cent increase had been recorded in civilian casualties in Kunar, Laghman, Nangarhar and Nuristan provinces, was even graver, said UNAMA’s human rights director.
Georgette Gagnon told a news conference in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar: “Nineteen percent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan took place in the eastern region in the first eight months of 2013.”
In the four eastern province, the UN mission registered a total of 499 civilian casualties -- 81 fatalities and 418 injuries, indicating a 63 percent increase over 2012.
She accused insurgent groups of causing most of civilian deaths and injuries, saying: "Their activities, not limited to violence, include intimidation, threat and abduction of civilians."
UNAMA had documented a new trend of increasing civilian casualties during ground engagements between Afghan forces and anti-government groups, which often took place in populated areas, she added.
At meetings government officials and members of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and civil society during her three-day visit to the eastern zone she raised the issue of protecting civilians.
Gagnon also discussed with her interlocutors elimination of violence against women, their participation in next year's elections and treatment of prisoners. "We reinforced our call to parties to the conflict to take all measures to protect civilians."
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