UN official condemns use of young child as unwitting suicide bomber

27 June 2011

A top United Nations official today condemned as unconscionable the use of an unwitting child as a suicide bomber in Afghanistan and a separate attack on a hospital in the strife-torn country.

The office of Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said she “was appalled to learn today of the use of a young girl as an unwitting suicide bomber” yesterday in Afghanistan.

According to media reports, an eight-year-old girl was tricked into carrying a bomb close to a police vehicle in Oruzgan province in southern Afghanistan, unaware that it was a bomb, and was killed when it was remotely detonated.

“The disgraceful act of putting a bomb in a little girl’s basket and sending her, unknowing, to kill, is almost unimaginable,” she said. “The group or individuals responsible must be brought to justice.”

A car bomb also detonated outside a hospital in Azra district of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, Saturday, reportedly killing at least 20 and wounding 23 more, and damaging much of the hospital.

Ms. Coomaraswamy called that attack “equally disturbing… Attacks on hospitals are two-fold atrocities. Not only do they kill and wound girls and boys, they leave thousands of women and children without access to treatment.”

In a statement issued in Kabul, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stressed that attacks against hospitals and medical workers are prohibited under humanitarian law.

“This is a despicable attack against civilians who were seeking medical care, as well as visiting family members and health workers,” said Staffan de Mistura, the head of UNAMA and the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“Much of the damage was in the maternity ward of the hospital, and many of those killed and injured were women and children.”

 

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