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Afghanistan: UNAMA expresses concern over increasing number of civilian casualties from airstrikes

Afghanistan: UNAMA expresses concern over increasing number of civilian casualties from airstrikes

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 25 Sep 2018, 11:28 am

Kabul, Sept 25 (IBNS): The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Tuesday expressed its concern about the rising number of civilian casualties from airstrikes this year in Afghanistan, with credible reports of the latest incident occurring late Saturday in Kapisa province.

UNAMA received multiple, credible allegations that on 22 September, aerial ordnance impacted the home of a teacher in the Budrab area of Tagab district, Kapisa province, killing nine civilians, including four children and three women, with several others injured.

All the victims from the attack were from the same family, including grandparents and children aged between two and twelve.

Five of the six other family members who were injured when their home was destroyed were women and young children.

The incident took place during operations conducted by Pro-Government Forces against Taliban in the area.

It was not immediately clear whether the strike was carried out by international military forces or by the Afghan Air Force. UNAMA is in contact with both entities, as part of UNAMA’s ongoing independent verification process to establish facts around such incidents and to advocate with parties to improve mitigation measures in future operations to prevent civilian casualties.

UNAMA reminds all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations to protect civilians from harm, and holds that all parties to the conflict must strictly adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law to take all feasible measures to protect civilians.

UNAMA also calls upon parties responsible for operations resulting in civilian casualties to ensure independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigations into these incidents.

In the first six months of the year, UNAMA documented 353 civilian casualties (149 deaths and 204 injured) from aerial attacks, a 52 per cent increase from the same period in 2017. It is of particular concern that women and children made up more than half of all aerial attack civilian casualties.

The Mission attributed 52 per cent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan Air Force, 45 per cent to international military forces, and the remaining three per cent to unidentified Pro-Government Forces. Around seven per cent of all civilian casualties in the Afghan conflict in the first half of the year were attributed to air operations.

The Mission repeats its earlier call for Government forces to uphold their commitment to regular review of targeting protocols and ensure mitigation measures and compensation for victims.

Since the release of UNAMA’s 2018 mid-year Protection of Civilians Report, the Mission has continued to record increasing numbers of civilian casualties caused by airstrikes.

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm