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Kabul: Streit um zivile Opfer

"Afghanistan Rights Monitor" beanstandet Zahlen der UN-Mission

Von Samuel Weber *

Der US-Oberkommandeur in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, hat jetzt in Washington »bedeutende Fortschritte« am Hindukusch konstatiert – trotz immer mehr ziviler Opfer. »Afghanistan Rights Monitor« (ARM) nannte derweil die Zahlen der UN-Mission im Lande (UNAMA) intransparent und voreingenommen.

Die Nichtregierungsorganisation ARM hat der UN-Mission in Afghanistan politische Spiele und das Verbreiten von falschen Informationen vorgeworfen. UNAMA behauptet in einem in der Vorwoche veröffentlichten Bericht, die ISAF-Soldaten hätten 2010 bedeutend weniger Zivilisten getötet als in den Jahren zuvor. Bereits im Februar veröffentlichtes Datenmaterial von ARM führt jedoch zu gegenteiligen Schlussfolgerungen. Die UN-Mission spricht in ihrem Bericht über den Schutz der Zivilisten in Afghanistan von einem Anstieg ziviler Opfer um 15 Prozent auf 2777 Fälle. Dabei werden die Aufständischen für 75 Prozent verantwortlich gemacht. Regierungstruppen hingegen wären zunehmend um den Schutz der Bevölkerung bemüht. Nur 16 Prozent der Getöteten gingen auf ISAF-Aktionen zurück – verglichen mit 2009 ein Rückgang um 26 Prozent.

Unabhängige Menschenrechtsgruppen wie »Afghanistan Rights Monitor« reagieren mit heftiger Kritik auf diese Darstellungen. So würde sich die UNAMA, anstatt den Menschen zu helfen, an politisch motivierten Schuldzuweisungen und dem Verbreiten von Falschinformationen beteiligen. Dabei sei es für die Bevölkerung zweitrangig, welche Konfliktpartei für die vielen Opfer verantwortlich sei.

Sowohl die NATO als auch die Aufständischen würden systematisch versuchen, ihre Verbrechen zu verschleiern. Der Missbrauch ziviler Opfer für politische und strategische Zwecke vertiefe zunehmend die Gräben zwischen der Bevölkerung und denen, die behaupten, auf ihrer Seite zu stehen.

Besonders kritisiert wird die fehlende vergleichbare Datengrundlage des UNAMA-Berichts, bei dessen Erstellung auch die »Unabhängige Afghanische Menschenrechtskommission« mitgewirkt hat. Dies könne zu Missinterpretationen und Feindseligkeit bei den jungen und wirklich unabhängigen Menschenrechtsgruppen führen. In einem bereits im Februar veröffentlichten Report von ARM werden die NATO-Truppen zusammen mit den afghanischen Sicherheitskräften für 33 Prozent der zivilen Opfer verantwortlich gemacht. Während das Datenmaterial der UNAMA die Vorfälle wenig präzise beschreibt, lobte das »SCIENCE-Magazine« die hohe Transparenzschärfe der Werte von »Afghanistan Rights Monitor«.

* Aus: Neues Deutschland, 17. März 2011

Rising Civilian Casualties Need Action Than Politics

Kabul, 16 March 2011: As war-related civilian casualties in Afghanistan hike to unprecedented levels since 2002, so are the communication shows by some Afghan and international entities in distorting facts and figures to serve their political and strategic purposes. Whilst Afghan civilians suffer the increasing brunt of casualties resulting from the intensifying armed violence, President Hamid Karzai, U.S.-NATO, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Armed Opposition Groups (AOGs) are fiercely engaged in political blame games and in imparting misinformation.

“For many Afghans, it’s not very important which warring party has to be blamed for what percentage of the civilian casualties, but they want an end to the attacks - by pro-government and anti-government elements - which bring catastrophic consequences to them,” said Ajmal Samadi, director of Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM).

President Karzai has issued contradicting statements and has adopted mercurial positions in regards to the deaths and injuries of civilian people in military operations and security incidents over the past two years. Apart from chanting a recurrent emotional rhetoric, however, Karzai’s administration has failed to take meaningful measures in order to address causes of the preventable civilian casualties, create and enforce appropriate recourse mechanisms, provide justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable.

“President Karzai even does not know how many Afghan police and army soldiers have lost their lives protecting his government,” said Samadi.

A report on conflict-related civilian deaths in 2010, which was jointly released by UNAMA and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on 9 March, has presented disputable figures and has been reported in the international media as being appreciative of one particular side of the conflict for allegedly killing less civilian Afghans.

ARM is concerned that in the absence of comprehensive data to support the reported civilian deaths and the parties blamed for them, the UNAMA/AIHRC report could attract animosity from a particularly disliked and ostracized warring group and thus exacerbate misperceptions about the impartiality and independence of the fledging human rights community in Afghanistan.

“As independent human rights activists, we’re not pro or against any military and political party but strive to inform everyone about the realities of war and to remind the warring sides that noncombatants are losing their lives and limbs as a result of their fighting,” said Ajmal Samadi.

The AOGs and U.S.-NATO forces, meanwhile, have spared no propaganda and misinformation effort in camouflaging some of the most despicable incidents of civilian casualties resulting from their armed hostilities. The AOGs categorically reject the fact that they cause an overwhelming majority of the civilian casualties and cause other avoidable harms to noncombatant communities.

“AGOs even refuse to apologize for their appalling crimes against civilian people and never commit to practically respecting the safety and protection of noncombatants in their military activities,” said Samadi.

Except for rare and selective sympathy statements, U.S.-NATO forces have done little to provide adequate financial and ethical compensations to the civilian victims of their military operations and despite recurrent promises they are yet to practically minimize civilian deaths.

General David Petraeus, the top commander of all U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan, has yet to tender his sincere apology for the alleged killing of over 60 civilians in the U.S.-NATO ground and air operations in the Ghaziabad District in Kunar Province on 15-19 February.

Politicizing and abusing the incidents of civilian causalities for certain political and strategic purposes not only do not serve the victims of war and their bereaved families but also create irreparable wedges between the Afghan people and the parties that allege they are fighting on behalf of the people. Presenting distorted information about the war and its resulting civilian casualties, meanwhile, is a grave crime against the victims and the tragic history of in the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

ARM requests President Karzai to stop using civilian casualties as a political rhetoric to retort international criticisms over the existence of rampant corruption and inefficiency in his government. Instead, the Afghan Government should launch concerted efforts and rigorous investigations to identify the core causes of civilian casualties and issue and enforce serious corrective measures.

The Government must set up and implement mechanisms to seek financial, moral and social compensations for the civilian victims of war. It should also create educational, health and income support systems for the women, children and families who lose their principal breadwinners in the war.

Mr. Karzai also needs to strongly condemn the indiscriminate, widespread and systematic killing and maiming of civilian people by the Taliban and other anti-government elements. The ones who always need to be respected and remembered are the civilian victims of the war.

In addition to seriously reforming its war reporting functions, UNAMA should galvanize international support for the rapidly growing war victim population in Afghanistan and explore humanitarian means to alleviate their sufferings. ARM calls on UNAMA to help enhance the credibility, independence and institutional capacity of the nascent Afghan human rights community in order to investigate and report the truth about the war and other critical human rights issues without prejudice and bias.

Finally, but most importantly, ARM calls on all warring parties in Afghanistan to spare no efforts in reducing the harms and impacts of their military activities on civilian Afghans. Afghans need more than contrived apologies after recurrent incidents of civilian casualties; they need sincere, concrete and sustained actions which should minimize the harms and impacts of war on their lives.

For more information, please visit: www.arm.org.af

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