UN ‘shocked and appalled’ at killings of medical workers in Afghanistan

9 August 2010

All United Nations staff in Afghanistan are “shocked and appalled” at the killing of ten medical workers in the northeast of the Asian nation, a senior world body official said today, calling for the protection of international health-care workers as they provide life-saving services.

The ten people killed on 5 August in Badakhshan were part of a group known as the International Assistance Mission, which has had an office in the area for many years and is known for bringing medical services to remote villages across Afghanistan.

“The United Nations condemns this serious crime and apparent cold-blooded execution,” Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative, said in a press statement.

“These were individuals who came to Afghanistan or were Afghans working in their own country to help the poorest and most vulnerable,” he stressed.

Also condemning the attack today was Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who emphasized that “health workers must have access to treat those in need and must be able to do so without fear.”

At a press conference in New York, he added that “under international law, health workers must be protected while they carry out their life-saving work.”

Mr. de Mistura expressed his condolences to the families, friends and colleagues left behind after the tragic incident, emphasizing that “all those involved in this and other incidents targeting health workers should respect the value of human life.”

 

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