UN “Appalled” by Conditions in Afghan Informal Settlements

Human Wrongs Watch

The top UN humanitarian official voiced concern over “unacceptable” conditions in informal settlements sheltering displaced people and former refugees in Afghanistan, and called for greater support for durable solutions to alleviate their hardship.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos (left), jokes with a group of young girls at a refugee camp in the Parwan Se district of Kabul, Afghanistan. UN Photo/Fardin Waezi

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“I was appalled by what I saw today and in particular the unacceptable conditions families are forced to endure in the heart of the capital city – women and children in particular,” said the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, on 9 May after visiting the Parwan Se informal settlement in Kabul.

“More than a third of Afghanistan’s population has personal experience of displacement,” said Amos, who heads the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN reports.
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Displacements in Almost Every Urban and Rural Centre
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An estimated 5.7 million former Afghan refugees have returned to the country since 2002, but reintegration has had mixed results, the UN reports.
About five million other documented and undocumented Afghans continue to live in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan, and almost 500,000 Afghans are internally displaced as a result of conflict or natural disasters.

Noting that displacement affects almost every urban and rural centre in Afghanistan and not just Kabul, Amos welcomed the Afghan Government’s commitment to finding a lasting solution the refugee and internal displacement problems.

“Meanwhile, we must continue to make every effort to ensure a dignified existence for all communities in need,” Amos added.

The humanitarian chief, who also serves as the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, met with some of the 80 families living in the Parwan Se settlement and witnessed their living conditions, which include little access to clean water and sanitation, and a lack of basic hygiene, health and education services, amid limited employment opportunities.

Received Only One Fourth of Needed Humanitarian Aid

According to OCHA, the Parwan Se community receives some assistance from government-run medical facilities and international non-governmental organizations, such as Solidarités and Welthungerhilfe, but the support is inadequate and does not address the underlying causes of displacement.

UN agencies and their partners have appealed for a total of $437 million for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan this year – but only $105.5 million, or 24 per cent, of the required funding has so far been received.

The principal purpose of Ms. Amos’ visit is to raise awareness of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and to discuss with the Afghan authorities how the humanitarian community can help improve the Government’s capacity to respond to humanitarian needs, to prepare better for disasters and to build the resilience of vulnerable communities.

Read also:

Occupied Afghanistan — Other Five Million Refugees in ‘Acute Need’

Afghanistan: UN (Not U.S.) Rushes to Feed 7,3 Million Poor  

Another Year of Death and Destruction in the AfPak War

‘Stop This Military Madness’ in Afghanistan

Why Did the U.S. Attack Pakistan?

Afghan and U.S. Troops Forcing Civilians to March Onto Mined Roads?

U.S.-led “Enduring Freedom”: Systematic Torture and Abuse in Afghan Prisons

U.S-Backed Afghan Police and Militia Behind Killings and Rape

Afghanistan, The Worst Place To Be A Mother Or A Child

Occupied Afghanistan Has ‘Long Way to Go’ in Protecting Women

Afghanistan Provides 90 % of World’s Opium

Sharp Increase in Afghan Opium Production and Consumption

Afghanistan: 400 Women, Girls Jailed for ‘Moral Crimes’

Karzai Accuses US of Torture, False Imprisonment

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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