Statement Attributable to Mr Mark Bowden, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan
Kabul, 30 November 2013: I have learned with deep regret of the death of nine Afghan aid workers in two separate attacks in recent days.
On 26 November, three Afghans working for a village development project in southern Uruzgan Province were killed by a remote-controlled explosive device. On 27 November six Afghans working with the French aid organisation ACTED were ambushed by gunmen as they were travelling in Faryab Province in north-western Afghanistan. A seventh Afghan staff member was seriously injured in that attack and is being treated in a local hospital.
These tragic incidents illustrate the growing risks surrounding the delivery of aid and the increasing disrespect for humanitarian personnel in Afghanistan, which was identified as the most dangerous country for aid workers by the October 2013 Aid Worker Security Report.
So far in 2013 in Afghanistan, the United Nations has recorded 237 incidences against humanitarian personnel, facilities and assets. These account for 36 deaths, 24 detentions, 46 injuries and the abduction of 72 personnel.
I am extremely concerned with this trend at a time when the country is in the midst of a difficult transition that may lead to increased humanitarian needs. While humanitarian organisations remain focused on finding ways to continue their work in Afghanistan despite these cowardly acts, respect for their security is essential for them to stay and deliver.
I call upon all actors to respect and uphold the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian workers and to abide by international humanitarian laws. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and colleagues of those we have lost, and I trust that all measures will be pursued to identify those responsible for these heinous acts.
For further information, please contact:
James St John Cox, OCHA Public Information Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +93 79 300 1132, afg.humanitarianresponse.org
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.