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Afghanistan must bolster protection for aid workers

    June 02, 2015

    The killing of nine people, mostly humanitarian workers, in a despicable gun attack in northern Afghanistan last night is an urgent reminder of the need for authorities to increase protection for aid workers, said Amnesty International.

    The attack took place in an NGO guesthouse in the province of Balkh, Zari district, in northern Afghanistan. No-one has yet taken responsibility.

    The aid workers were part of the Czech organization People in Need, which runs rural development projects.

    “Being an aid worker in Afghanistan is an extremely risky business which will only become more dangerous if authorities fail to ensure those responsible for these disgraceful attacks face justice,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The latest attack must be urgently investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Anything less will send the message that aid workers are a fair target.”

    Deadly attacks against civilians by armed groups across Afghanistan have spiked in recent weeks. Targeting civilians for attack - including humanitarian workers - is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention which all armed groups in Afghanistan must abide by.

    On 14 May, the Taliban carried out a deadly siege in a central Kabul hotel. Seven humanitarian workers were amongst those killed.

    For further information, please contact:  John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    613-744-7667 ext 236