UN investigator condemns bombing of Afghanistan
GENEVA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - A U.N. special investigator called on Monday for an end to the bombing of Afghanistan, saying it put the lives of millions of civilians at risk.
"The bombing has to stop right now. There is a humanitarian emergency," said Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. "In winter the lorries cannot go in any more. Millions of Afghans will be unreachable in winter and winter is coming very, very soon," he told a news conference.
The United Nations has warned of a catastrophe unless aid can get through for up to seven million Afghans.
The U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP) is sending convoys of trucks into Afghanistan but does not have enough aid stockpiled inside the country to meet needs through the winter.
"We must give the (humanitarian) organisations a chance to save the millions of people who are internally displaced (inside Afghanistan)," said Ziegler, adding that he was echoing an appeal made by U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson.
On Friday, Robinson said that she hoped that there could be a halt to the bombing to help the aid agencies with their work, although she denied having issued an outright call for a pause.
Ziegler, a former member of parliament for the Swiss Socialist Party, also blasted the twinning of the military campaign with air drops of food aid by the U.S. air force.
The United States and Britain say the air drops of thousands of packets of food each day are designed to show that the war is not against the Afghan people but against their rulers.
But Ziegler said that the mixing of military and aid operations could put the lives of humanitarian workers at risk because it weakened the idea that they were neutral. "It is a catastrophe for humanitarian work," he said.
|Back to News Archirves of 2001|
Disclaimer: This news site is mostly a compilation of publicly accessible articles on the Web in the form of a link or saved news item. The news articles and commentaries/editorials are protected under international copyright laws. All credit goes to the original respective source(s).