Read caption Assad Souri secondary school for displaced children in Zhari district, Kandahar province in Southern Afghanistan has been attacked and occupied several times by both parties to the conflict. Photo: Becky Bakr Abdulla/NRC

Statement on the outcome of the Intra-Afghan Peace Conference

Published 09. Jul 2019
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) welcomes the commitments to minimise civilian casualties as well as ensure the security of schools made jointly by participants of the Intra-Afghan Peace Conference which ended in Qatar yesterday.

Statement by Country Director for NRC in Afghanistan, Christopher Nyamandi on the outcome of the Intra-Afghan Peace Conference:  

“In the past week we have witnessed a very worrying increase in large attacks close to schools. In the last ten days over a hundred schoolchildren have been injured in several attacks. At least one child was killed when bombs were detonated close to their classrooms in Kabul and Ghazni.

“We are pleased to see the commitment by those in Doha to respect schools as well as to reduce civilian casualties. However, these positive words must now be translated into concrete actions by all sides currently fighting in Afghanistan to protect civilians and children from harm.

“The promises made in Doha came after thousands of lives have been lost in attacks by both sides during the past two decades. School children are increasingly vulnerable in this surging conflict. We hope that the discussions in Doha will be the first step towards peace. However, there are still concerns that increased political uncertainty could plunge the country further into crisis.

“Any step on the road to peace should be viewed positively. However, we are still only at the very beginning of this road, and we cannot yet predict the final destination. It is imperative that international actors who have been facilitating and participating in many of these talks, do not see this as an opportunity for a hasty exit. Now more than ever the international community must remain committed to supporting Afghans – thousands of whom today, despite everything, will be forced from their homes due to the conflict.” 

Background Information:
  • The Government of Afghanistan endorsed the Oslo Safe Schools Declaration,which commits to protecting students, teachers, and educational establishments from attack during times of armed conflict, in a meeting hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 29 May 2015, along with 36 other States. To date, 73 States are signatories to the Declaration. NRC in Afghanistan, both directly and through partners, works with both sides of the conflict to promote protection of education facilities during the conflict.

  • NRC, in conjunction with ACAPS, has recently published five possible scenarios that explore how displacement and humanitarian needs may evolve over the next 18 months, particularly in light of the ongoing talks in Doha and the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan. These can be found here: https://www.acaps.org/sites/acaps/files/slides/files/190705_acaps_nrc_scenarios_displacement_and_access_in_afghanistan.pdf

  • In total, over 2017 NRC directly assisted over 485k displaced persons through its wider programming in Afghanistan, which includes legal assistance, shelter, camp management, WASH, food security and education in emergencies.
Notes to Editors:

NRC has spokespersons available for interviews in Afghanistan.

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