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Attacks on healthcare sector a matter of grave concern: UN Report



(Last Updated On: June 22, 2020)

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Sunday issued a report stating it was gravely concerned by recent deliberate attacks on healthcare personnel and facilities, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new special report, released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), details findings of its monitoring of all incidents of the armed conflict affecting healthcare from 11 March, the date the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic, to 23 May, the start of a three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The report titled “Attacks on Healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic,” documents the harm to healthcare workers, damage to healthcare facilities and other ways in which parties to the conflict have “interfered” with necessary healthcare, both as a result of targeted attacks as well as from ongoing fighting, a statement issued Sunday by UNAMA read.


According to UNAMA, they had already raised concerns about such incidents in their report for the first quarter of 2020.

“Since then, the situation deteriorated: the Taliban continued abducting healthcare workers and attacked a pharmacy; the Afghan national security forces carried out deliberate acts of violence and intimidation affecting a healthcare facility, workers and the delivery of medical supplies; and unknown gunmen perpetrated an attack on a maternity ward in a hospital in Kabul, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties,” the statement read.

Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, meanwhile said: “At a time when an urgent humanitarian response was required to protect every life in Afghanistan, both the Taliban and Afghan national security forces carried out deliberate acts of violence that undermined healthcare operations.”

“There is no excuse for such actions; the safety and well-being of the civilian population must be a priority,” she said.

The report documents 15 incidents affecting healthcare provision, where 12 were deliberate attacks, and the remaining incidents involved incidental harm.

UNAMA said most of these healthcare-related incidents – eight of the targeted attacks and two of the incidents with incidental harm – were attributed to the Taliban but added Afghan national security forces were responsible for three targeted attacks against healthcare.

“One instance of incidental harm to healthcare occurred in the context of clashes between Afghan national security forces and the Taliban. The most abhorrent attack, on a maternity ward in a Kabul hospital, remains unattributed,” the statement read.

The report emphasized that deliberate acts of violence against healthcare facilities, including hospitals and related personnel, are prohibited under international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes.

“Perpetrating targeted attacks on healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when health resources are already stretched and of critical importance to the civilian population, is particularly reprehensible,” said Fiona Frazer, UNAMA Chief of Human Rights.

The report also stated that the harm caused by attacks on healthcare, particularly during a health pandemic, extends well beyond the direct victims of those incidents and stressed that even with ongoing conflict, the people of Afghanistan have the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health under international human rights law.

The UN stated that it condemns all deliberate attacks, threats, abductions, and other intentional acts against healthcare facilities and personnel, as outlined in the report.

“In a situation in which the entire population in Afghanistan is at risk from COVID-19, there can be no greater priority than ensuring that health services can continue to operate without interference, interruption, and with sufficient resources,” the organization stated.

The UN also reiterated calls to all parties to heed the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire so all attention and resources can be directed toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent further harm being caused to the people of Afghanistan.

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UN Security Council temporarily lifts travel ban on senior IEA official



(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

The UN Security Council has lifted the travel ban on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) acting Minister of Information and Culture, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhah, for a period of 10 days, so he can attend an event in Russia, officials in Afghanistan stated.

The UN Security Council failed to extend a travel ban exemption on Khairkhah along with other IEA officials two months ago.

This latest temporary travel ban exemption is said to have come into effect on December 1 and will run through until December 10, allowing Khairkhah to travel to Kazan, the capital of the Russian Federation’s Republic of Tatarstan.

Khairkhah was formerly imprisoned in Guantanamo and was released in 2014 in exchange for an American soldier.

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Migration to Germany to hit 1.2 million in 2022: report



(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

More people will have sought refuge in Germany in 2022 than at the height of the European migrant crisis, Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the country is on course to see 1.2 million new arrivals this year — a 35% increase from 2015 when 890,000 migrants and refugees, mainly fleeing the Syrian war, came to the country.

This year’s tally was calculated from the more than a million Ukrainian refugees welcomed in Germany since Russia’s invasion unfolded in February and an expected 200,000 asylum seekers by the end of the year.

By the end of October, some 181,612 asylum applications were recorded, Welt am Sonntag reported, mostly from Syrian, Afghan, Turkish and Iraqi nationals.

Municipalities face resource squeeze

German municipalities are reported to have reached their limit in processing such a large number of new arrivals, sparking concern from politicians like Armin Schuster, the interior minister for the eastern state of Saxony.

“We are approaching 200,000 asylum seekers this year. In the last legislature, this number was defined as the upper limit,” Schuster told the paper. While he said his state continues to “stand up for Ukraine, no ifs or buts,” any free capacity will soon be exhausted.

German MEP Manfred Weber warned of a “dramatic winter of refuge,” referring to an expected increase in migrant and refugee arrivals during the winter months.

Some analysts have warned that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians could flee the country as Russian forces continue to target the country’s energy infrastructure, sparking widespread power cuts during the winter cold.

“Germany is currently sleepwalking into a new migration crisis,” Weber warned, noting a similar pressure on authorities in the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

Last month, the EU refugee agency said asylum applications had reached a new post-2015 high.

The government said it was supporting states and municipalities with €3.5 billion ($3.69 billion) this year, with another €2.75 billion earmarked for 2023, and has provided more than 67,000 spaces for accommodation.

Schuster said Germany’s migration policy needed more than just “warm words” and called for “a noticeable braking effect on asylum access via the East Mediterranean route,” referring to how many migrants arrive in EU territory via Turkey and Greece.

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Anas Haqqani and Yaqoob Mujahid meet Afghans in UAE



(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) defense minister Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, at the Al Shati Royal Palace in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

According to the ministry the two dignitaries discussed issues of mutual interest.

Mujahid, along with Anas Haqqani, also met with Afghans living in the UAE where he asked them to return home.

In a meeting with the Afghans, he said that he would speak with senior UAE officials about improving ties between the two countries and on resolving challenges the Afghans face.

“We will meet with the relevant officials if there is a visa problem, an issue with flights, or problems with prisoners. Even if there are problems inside Afghanistan, for example, passport problems or other problems, I will try to deal with these cases to the best of my ability without delay,” the defense minister said.

“We must remove discrimination from our minds. In the minds of the new generation, we must remember that all ethnic groups are citizens of Afghanistan and have rights in Afghanistan,” he also told Afghans at the meeting.

According to Mujahid, Afghanistan is the home of all Afghans, and that: ”Afghans should invest in their country and we should all contribute to the country’s prosperity, and development.”

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), who is also in the UAE, told Afghans living in Dubai that the purpose of the IEA’s visit was to address their problems.

“The Islamic Emirate is working on long-term plans, ” he said, adding “with the grace and support of Allah, we are building Afghanistan.”

According to him, Afghanistan has just emerged from war and now there is security in the country.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate said that the delegation will meet with the leadership of the UAE to discuss a range of issues.

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