ICRC wants civilians protected
During the first months of 2014, the security situation remained precarious in many parts of Afghanistan, where conflict, arrests, assassinations and attacks continued, said the ICRC head of operations for South Asia.
Anthony Dalziel said the run-up to the presidential and provincial elections had exacerbated tensions and fuelled concerns over the safety of ordinary Afghans going about their daily lives.
Currently on a visit to Afghanistan, the official stressed the civilians exposed to conflict or other situations of violence must be protected from harm – regardless of whether they were unarmed foreigners or Afghans, or of whether the harm come from an air strike, a suicide mission, a hidden mine or an attack against a lawful military target.
“The protection of the civilian population will remain paramount, no matter who wins the election, or if there is a second round," said Monica Zanarelli, acting head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul.
"This means ensuring that people have safe and unhindered access to basic services such as health care. Respect for medical facilities and personnel and for transport being used for medical purposes is critical, as is respect for all kinds of humanitarian work."
During the first three months of the year, the ICRC, together with the Afghan Red Crescent Society, continued to respond to the needs of the displaced, support communities deprived of safe water and health care, to help family members separated by conflict to keep in touch, and to assist communities affected by natural disaster.
From January to March 2014, the ICRC carried out 25 visits in 19 places of detention holding over 18,000 detainees; enabled families of detainees in Afghan and US detention facilities in Parwan to make 1,040 phone calls to their detained relatives.
It also organized more than 850 visits between relatives and detainees in Bagram; registered almost 2,100 new patients at the seven ICRC physical rehabilitation centres; created job opportunities for over 1,500 people.
It provided one-month food rations and household items for nearly 14,000 people displaced by conflict or natural disaster; briefed thousands of weapon bearers, political authorities, community elders, religious leaders, members of civil society and people receiving aid on the mandate and work of the ICRC; maintained its support for Mirwais and Sheberghan hospitals, which admitted nearly 15,000 inpatients.
In addition, over 84,700 outpatients attended clinics while more than 4,000 operations were performed in the two hospitals; Installed or renovated water supply systems to bring clean water to over 17,000 people in urban areas.
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