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Warring parties nudged to protect civilians

By Farhad Naibekhel-KABUL: As a recent report by United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan, a civil society group on Wednesday nudged warring parties to protect civilians during conflicts.

The UNAMA report disclosed that civilian casualties have mounted in first three months of this year. Most of the casualties have occurred in ground battles between security forces and anti-government elements. According to the report, at least 136 people were killed and 385 others wounded in first three months of this year.

Member of Civilian Protection Group (CPG), Karima Karimi, told newsmen that considering the current situation, there is an urgent need to adopt effective policies and procedures in order to protect civilians and support those who have been damaged by conflicts between security forces and militants.

She said commitments are not enough; practical steps should be taken to protect civilians and overcome civilian casualties countywide.

“We urge warring parties to implement better plans for civilians’ protection. They should realize that civilians are well aware of their rights therefore they demand safety and protection during wars,” she said.

The civil society group issued a statement wherein it criticized lack of policies to protect civilians during conflicts.

The group said the security forces were trained about international humanitarian law; however, the UNAMA report unearthed that the efforts were not effective for overcoming civilian casualties in conflicts. The group requested the government to help bereaved families and those civilians sustain injuries in clashes between security forces and militants.

Failing to protect the lives of non-combatant population means to disrespect the principles of Islamic societies and the rules of International humanitarian law.

Another member of the CPG, Mursal Kakar, said the government and relevant organizations should lunch public awareness campaigns about their rights and ways to be safe in conflicts. “A clear and honest commitment should be made by warring parties to follow the rules of international humanitarian law and protect civilians during conflicts,” she said.

She added that she believes that improving the peace process is a good option to cut civilian casualties across the country.

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