Afghanistan: Humanitarian Access Snapshot (September 2020)

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In September 2020, the HAG recorded 93 incidents impacting access for humanitarians, a decrease compared to 107 incidents in August . This highlights a continuously challenging access environment for the humanitarian community. Most access constraints continued to stem from interference with humanitarian activities (33) and violence/threats against humanitarian personnel or assets (23), with both categories logging numbers similar to August. This month, the HAG received a number of late reports on levy requests, raising the total number of levy requests recorded this year to 34, compared to 13 during the same period in 2019.

Interference in the implementation of humanitarian activities

In September, the HAG recorded 33 interference attempts in the implementation of humanitarian activities. GOA authored most incidents (22), while eight interference attempts were authored by NSAG-TB, with community members and ANSF behind two and one incident respectively. The high number of GOA incidents this month is due to a specific outreach to partners to report on bureaucratic impediments, with many of the issues raised having been ongoing for several months.

Partners across the country reported of bureaucratic impediments by different government departments, which resulted in significant delays to humanitarian programs. Of serious concern was a report that government officials refused to approve a partner’s financial report unless they would agree to share sensitive information. This request is contrary to the principle of neutrality and poses serious safety risks to the concerned organization, while also being part of a broader trend to penalize organizations working in NSAG-TB controlled areas. Several partners reported of pressure to provide financial incentives to government officials taking part in monitoring visits. In addition, there were further reports of GOA members interfering in staff recruitment or the beneficiary selection process.

NSAG-TB also authored eight interferences in the implementation of humanitarian activities, with five of the incidents concerning health actors. While door to door polio vaccination remains a challenging issue, there was also some success this month: In Paktya Province, NSAG-TB verbally agreed to allow door to door vaccination campaigns across the province, except for Zurmat District. Another two incidents highlight how NSAG-TB in the northeastern region have it taken upon them to monitor humanitarian activities: After a delay in the payment of teacher’s salary by the GOA, NSAG-TB temporarily closed all GOA schools, including NGO supported community-based schools, with the NGO partner collaterally punished despite having regular engagement with NSAG-TB. In a different incident, NSAG-TB members conducted monitoring visits to different health facilities, subsequently requesting to replace medicine of Chinese brand through a Pakistani, Iranian or Bangladeshi brand. Following engagement with the NSAG-TB Health Commission, it was agreed that the partner could continue using the already purchased medicine but should consider above mentioned countries for future procurement. Negotiations on this issue currently continue.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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