UNITED NATIONS, Jun 21 (APP):The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Sunday expressed its concern about recent “deliberate” attacks on healthcare personnel and facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a special report, UNAMA presented the findings of its monitoring of all incidents of the armed conflict affecting healthcare from March 11, the date on which the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a global pandemic, to May 23, the start of a three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan, and said there was no excuse for such actions.
“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,” Deborah Lyons, special UN envoy and head of UN mission, was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Sunday.
“There is no excuse for such actions; the safety and well-being of the civilian population must be a priority,” Lyons said.
The report documented 15 incidents affecting healthcare provision during the period of time, where 12 were deliberate attacks and the remaining incidents involved incidental harm.
“Most of these healthcare-related incidents – eight of the targeted attacks and two of the incidents with incidental harm – were attributed to the Taliban,” the statement said.
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.
The United Nations condemns all deliberate attacks, threats, abductions and other intentional acts against healthcare facilities and personnel, as outlined in the report, the statement added.