600 civilians killed in Helmand this year
LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Six hundred civilians lost their lives to violence this solar year in southern Helmand province, where thousands of children have been deprived of education, an official said on Wednesday.
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) chief for Helmand, Bilal Ahmad Siddique, told a gathering marking the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the national day of martyrs that human rights continued to be violated in Afghanistan.
He said due to the ongoing war and insurgency, tens of thousands of children had been deprived of education, with most people lacking basic facilities of life. He said the government had failed to resolve problems stemming from the war.
Siddique said immunity enjoyed by war criminals over the past 36 years, the lack of rule of law and warlordism had forced families of the victims to rise up and go to war against the government and seek revenge. “This situation has resulted in increased insecurity,” he said.
The human rights official said the president should order prosecution of war criminals and improve security in order to restore people’s trust in the government and keep them from joining the opposition.
Siddique said 600 civilians had been killed this year in security incidents and the ongoing conflict, indicating a 50 percent surge in civilian casualties over last year’s figures.
He said the conflict had displaced a large number of families and had deprived them of basic facilities of life. He also confirmed receiving 217 complaints this year against rights violations by powerful individuals.
The official said human rights violations existed in various forms --- jailing innocent people instead of criminals, lack of awareness, culture of impunity, corruption and others, which violated human rights on hand and widened the gap between the masses and the government on the other.
High Peace Council head for Helmand, Fazl Bari Fayaz, said most of the country’s laws were incomplete and as a result, the situation deteriorated by each passing day.
He said Islamic laws should be enforced in the country in order to achieve progress in resolving the country’s problems.
He urged the new government to implement administrative reforms and put to an end the ongoing injustices and brutalities meted out to the masses.
A civil society activist, Farid Ahmad Farhang, said the Afghans should strike unity in their ranks and should resolve their problems themselves because the government and the international community could not resolve their problems.
He said powerful individuals ruled in rural areas, where residents could not raise their issues and in some areas, corruption in judicial organs had left people with no option but to approach the Taliban about their disputes.
The governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak, said figures available with the provincial administration showed 350 civilians had been killed this year. However, he did not dispute the AIHRC’s figures.
He said the provincial government had intensified efforts at combating administrative corruption and some individuals had been arrested and jailed in this regard.
He said the level corruption had decreased compared with the past and efforts were being made to further discourage the menace.
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