Amnesty appeals for aid for displaced tribesmen along Pak-Afghan border

October 5th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by ANI  


London , Oct 5 (ANI): The international human rights body, Amnesty International (AI) has reportedly appealed to the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan and the US-led NATO security forces operating in Afghanistan to provide safe passage and rehabilitation to the people displaced due to the ongoing shelling and air strikes on tribal areas along the Pak-Afghan border.

It called for immediate assistance to all such displaced people.

Both the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as international forces operating in Afghanistan have a legal obligation to provide safe passage, consistent security and humanitarian assistance to the refugees and internally displaced people on both sides of the border. They should also ensure that local and international humanitarian agencies are able to work safely in providing assistance to those in need, the Daily Times quoted Amnesty Asia Director Sam Zarifi as saying in a press release.

He added: The continued fighting in southern Afghanistan and the more recent conflict in northern Pakistan are creating a dangerous situation in the region for civilians trying to find refuge. With the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, there is an expectation that even more civilians will leave their homes to avoid the fighting.

These refugees could be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. They are escaping fighting in Pakistan but they are at risk of being caught in the crossfire of the current fighting in Afghanistan between coalition forces and the Taliban and other anti-government groups, added Zarifi.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since mid September more than 600 families have fled Bajaur Agency, which was in addition to the 3364 families which took refuge in the districts of Shigal, Marawara, Dangam, and other areas of Afghanistan s Kunar province in early August.

UNHCR reports that majority of the families fleeing Pakistan are living with tribal relatives or host families in Kunar but some 200 families are living in open.

And, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, majority of the displaced from Bajaur Agency are women and children. (ANI)

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