Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 15th, 2017

Civilians Suffer amidst War

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Civilians Suffer amidst War

Human rights violation constantly makes global headline. People’s rights are violated in some ways or the other, especially on the basis of their racial and religious backgrounds. On the one hand, the escalated militancy have catalyzed human rights violation, but on the other hand, disregarding the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) left people’s rights to life and liberty at stake.
The fundamental rights of men, women, and children are trampled upon without a tinge of guilt. Human rights violators turn a close eye not only to international instruments but also to ethical code and religious tenets. They show no respect to people’s fundamental rights – i.e. their rights to life, freedom, and property. Scores of people lose their lives in conflicts. That is to say, both sides of war disregard the rights of individuals and pursue their political aims at the cost of women and children’s life.  
Reports say that at least 716 cases of rights violations – extrajudicial killing, physical assault, arbitrary detention, forced displacement, torture and violations of press freedom – were committed against civilians in Yemen last month. A total of 115 civilians were killed in October, according to Geneva-based SAM organization. The group also reported 140 new cases of arbitrary detention in October, in addition to the thousands of civilians who were already being held by Houthi rebels and loyalists to Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Calling it a “gross violations” of IHL, SAM condemned all the incidents in its report.
“[SAM] urges the UN and humanitarian organizations to provide immediate aid to the displaced civilians in Taiz and to work on lifting the blockade … immediately and without conditions,” the group noted, urging the Saudi-led coalition to “avoid targeting civilians and to review its rules of combat in accordance with the international laws and conventions”.
It is said that at least 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict, and seven million are in dire need of food assistance.
During the conflicts, children remain highly vulnerable. The alliance, assembled by Saudi Arabia in 2015, was added to the UN chief’s annual list of shame for killing and maiming 683 children and for 38 verified attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016. The blacklist also named the Houthi rebel group – also shamed last year – as being responsible for the killing or maiming of 414 children. In total, the document highlights the killing of 502 Yemeni children. It also says that 838 children were wounded in 2016.
In Syria, a resurgence of deadly attacks by pro-government forces in so-called de-escalation zones, including a triple airstrike on a busy marketplace, killed more than 50 people. In recent months, airstrikes by the Syrian government or Russia have hit schools, hospitals and homes in Idlib and in the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, another de-escalation zone, where the United Nations says 400,000 residents are trapped and where one in four children are at risk of malnutrition.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban and the loyalists to self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) spill the blood of soldiers and civilians. They target people anywhere, including masques while worshipping. The militants never respect IHL or religious tenets despite operating under the sacred term of religion. Last year, the civilian fatalities were the highest since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began recording them in 2009, according to SIGAR. That count found conflict-related civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose to 11,418 in 2016, including 3,498 killed and 7,920 wounded. In the current year, Afghans soldiers and civilians also sustained heavy casualties as a result of the Taliban’s intensified attacks.
To consider the above reports about human fatalities, one will conclude that people’s life has turned cheap and IHL is violated flagrantly. Countless of people are murdered without being involved in conflict. They lose their lives either in government or terrorist attacks.
To safeguard the rights of people, the international community will have to take action against countries or influential figures who are engaged in human rights violations. Moreover, the countries have to stop indiscriminate bombardment. They must respect IHL and do not target civilians and non-governmental buildings. Indeed, it is the worst-case scenario to see that civilians are targeted by both sides – i.e. governments and rebels.

To sum up, the rights of civilians and soldiers who are detained or wounded are violated without regard to IHL. Furthermore, non-governmental buildings – including residential houses, schools, universities, and hospitals – are largely attacked. It is hoped that people will be able to exercise their rights freely in all parts of the world and all individuals and parties respect their human rights. It is also hoped that war and violence will come to end in near future.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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