• Melo Acuna

Calls for respect for human rights and provision of humanitarian access made

International agencies call on the Taliban to provide humanitarian access and safety of Afghan citizens


MANILA – The Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM) expressed great concern as developments unfold in Afghanistan as well as the possible grave consequences for displaced people and civilians in need of humanitarian assistance, in a country that has severely suffered from years of conflict, drought and strife.


“While the current situation presents difficult challenges, IOM will strive to continue its programs and provide assistance to displaced communities while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its staff across the country,” said IOM Director General Antónìo Vitorino.


He added the security of humanitarian actors, and respect for humanitarian principles, are prerequisites for a continued and effective response to the needs of vulnerable people, and assurances by all parties involved must be provided.


About 400,000 people have been displaced at the onset of the year due to the ongoing violence. More than 5 million are internally displaced and reliant on humanitarian act.


He added the safety and protection of civilians remains the number one priority and appeals to all parties to ensure unhampered access for all humanitarian actors extending relief and assistance to affected sectors of society.


Because of the instability and recent security concerns in Kabul, movement to and from the country has been impeded thereby affecting IOM operations.


The IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programme, and the post arrival integration assistance to returnees, have been suspended as of today.


The IOM commends the decisions by several States to halt forced returns to Afghanistan and calls for wider adoption of the moratorium.


“Ensuring the safety of civilians is paramount and should be a priority for all concerned. IOM urges all parties to continue efforts to maintain dialogue and work towards a peaceful resolution of the situation, ‘prioritizing’ the welfare of the Afghan people,” the IOM statement said.


The IOM said they echo the call made by United Nations Secretary-General Antonío Guterres for an immediate end to vi9olence and the protection of the rights of civilians.


Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said they are relieved to see Kabul avoiding devastating urban warfare.


However, they expressed concern of the thousands of civilians either wounded and or displaced in the fighting in other urban areas.


“The ICRC is determined to stand by the Afghan people and help men, women and children cope with the unfolding situation,” the ICRC statement said.


The international humanitarian organization said Afghanistan is in the idle of a transition that is “difficult” for the Afghans, and the ICRC to predict the outcome.


The ICRC reported more than 7,600 patients wounded by weapons since August 1. They have been treated at the ICRC-supported facilities around the country. More than 40,000 people have been wounded by weapons were treated at their ICRC-supported facilities from June to August this year.


“Our medical teams and physical rehabilitation centers expect to receive patients for months and years to come as they recover from wounds from explosive devices that litter the country, many of them newly laid in recent weeks. It is heartbreaking to see our wards filled with children and young men and women who have lost limbs,” the ICRC statement revealed.


They admitted having a funding shortfall of 30 million Swiss francs or US$33 million, out of a budget of about 79 million Swiss francs or US$86 million. (Melo M. Acuña)

Afghani residents in file photo. (IOM photo)

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