UN rights chief calls for investigation into Kunduz clinic airstrikes News
UN rights chief calls for investigation into Kunduz clinic airstrikes

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] called Saturday for a “swift, full and transparent investigation” [press release] into airstrikes that hit a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) [advocacy website] clinic in Kunduz, Afghanistan, over the weekend. The bombing, which lasted approximately 30 minutes, killed [NYT report] 12 clinic workers and 10 patients and seriously injured 34 people, 19 of whom were clinic workers. Calling the bombing “utterly tragic, inexcusable, and possibly even criminal,” Zeid stated that the medical facilities are the “object of special protection.” Zeid said the results of the investigation should be made public, emphasizing that the bombing of a hospital “may amount to a war crime.” MSF said Sunday that it was closing the Kunduz clinic and also called for a “transparent and independent investigation.”

Human rights groups have criticized Afghanistan’s record in recent years, as fighting continues in the country. In August the UN said that a new report [text, PDF] showed a significant increase in the number of women and children being hurt or killed [JURIST report] in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban and other insurgents. In June the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Mark Bowden stated that the hostilities in Afghanistan are leading to the killing and wounding of thousands [JURIST report] and the forced relocation of families into neighboring countries. In April UNAMA and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report urging Afghanistan to strengthen its criminal justice system [JURIST report] to protect women from domestic violence. Also in April an Amnesty International report stated that Afghanistan women’s rights activists are facing increased violence [JURIST report] and a lack of governmental support. In March the UN released a report indicating a 22 percent increase in civilian causalities [JURIST report] in 2014, making 2014 the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2009.