Head of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation in Afghanistan Schaerer Juan-Pedro on Wednesday expressed his concerns over civilian deaths and suffering among Afghans from hunger due to the ongoing war and violence in the country.
Addressing ceremony on International Day of Red Cross, Red Crescent, Pedro said security threats have always undermined and overshadowed health services delivery to the people in the warzones.
The event was jointly celebrated by the ICRC and the Afghan Red Crescent Society.
“Persistent hostilities continue to result in civilian casualties and severe suffering among the Afghan population,” he said.
“We remain concerned about the plight of the Afghan people affected by armed conflict, which continues to cause civilian casualties and severe suffering amongst the population,” he said. “We call on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law; ensure the protection of civilians and civilian structures; respect for the ICRC independent, neutral and impartial humanitarian work and to allow unhindered access to humanitarian aid.”
Acting head of Afghan Red Crescent Husn Bano Ghazanfar appreciated the services of the ICRC in the difficult times.
“You know that those children suffering from heart defects cannot wait and should be dispatched for treatment as soon as possible,” said Ghazanfar.
“The Afghan Red Crescent Society is a neutral, independent and impartial institution and has no discrimination against anyone,” said Nilab Mubarez, secretary general of the Afghan Red Crescent Society.
In April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) stopped their activities in Afghanistan after being threatened by the Taliban.
Taliban in a statement in April announced that the ICRC and WHO cannot operate in the areas under their influence until further notice.
The group said the two organizations have not put into practice the commitments they made to the group.
The WHO warned that the Taliban’s move will put a negative impact on healthcare services of the organization in vulnerable people in Afghanistan.
Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman of WHO said they are worried about banning of their activities insisting that they want all the warring parties to maintain the security of healthcare personnel.
“Obviously, we are concerned that this will negatively impact the delivery of health services to the affected population. We know that unhindered access to all areas is necessary to provide health services to those in need,” said Jasarevic.
The ICRC operates in Afghanistan for over the past 30 years and the committees’ activities are mostly focused on providing assistance to war prisoners and war victims.
The WHO provides polio vaccination services to children as well as it provides other healthcare services to Afghans around the country.