Thursday, December 21, 2006

Maybe we can make a difference

This week, on Monday, UNAMA released a report on the civilian causalities from a recent incident in which British soldiers fired shots after an attack on their convoy. These situations are complex, and the application of international humanitarian law is not always straightforward, but Afghan citizens have been saying recently that they find it a bit rich for Western nations to issue reports on human rights violations in Afghanistan when there are no reports being issued on the civilian casualties caused by the ISAF/NATO forces. So this report is important. It has been welcomed by residents in Kandahar. Credible, impartial monitoring of the impact on civilians of armed conflict in Afghanistan is essential to the success of our shared goal: stabilization and future development of the country. Afghan NGOs and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission have reported on these types of incidents in the past and the UN has released statements expressing concern at reports of large civilian casualties but this is the first official UN report on civilian causalities based on investigation of a specific incident It includes findings and recommendations and it is intended to the first of many. Friends of mine, both Afghan and international, worked hard on this report and I’m proud of their work. This report reminds me what good human rights monitoring can do, and it inspires me to do my little part as well as I can. I’ve been discouraged in my work this week, so this was just the motivator I needed.

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