[JURIST] The hostilities in Afghanistan are leading to the killing and wounding of thousands and the forced relocation of families into neighboring countries, according to Mark Bowden [official profile], the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, in statements [press release] made on Monday. While addressing the Second Independent Media and Civil Society Forum in Kabul, Bowden stated that doctors in Kabul have seen an 50 percent increase in the number of civilians visiting the hospital for conflict-related injuries than at the same time last year. He also noted that humanitarian aid workers are becoming targets themselves in Afghanistan. However, Bowden stressed that “It is through its engagement with the media that civil society can advocate more strongly about the conflict and the resulting humanitarian situation.” Bowden also serves as the deputy head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), a mission dedicated to helping achieve the freedoms and human rights provisions set out in the Afghan Constitution [PDF].
Human rights groups have criticized Afghanistan’s record in recent years. In April UNAMA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] released a report [JURIST report] urging Afghanistan to strengthen its criminal justice system to protect women from domestic violence. Also in April an Amnesty International [advocacy website] report stated [JURIST report] that Afghanistan women’s rights activists are facing increased violence and a lack of governmental support. In March UNAMA also released a report [JURIST report] indicating a 22 percent increase in civilian causalities in 2014, making 2014 the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2009. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women called on the government of Afghanistan [JURIST report] and the international community to adopt sustainable measures to address violence against women in the country. UNAMA and the OHCHR released a study [JURIST report] last year that raised concern over the treatment of women in the country.