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UNAMA Urges Taliban to Respect, Protect Civilians Participating in Elections

(Last Updated On: October 19, 2018)

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has called on the Afghan citizens to exercise their constitutional right and vote in the parliamentary elections which are set for tomorrow (Saturday).

“UNAMA encourages all eligible Afghan citizens to use this opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” it said in a statement on Friday.

UNAMA also called on relevant institutions to ensure that the elections can take place in a secure and safe environment.

In the statement UNAMA, meanwhile, expressed deep concern at the recent statements of the Taliban especially those that indicate their intention to carry out attacks against schools that will be used as polling centres.

“The elections are a civilian undertaking, and schools used as polling centres cannot be regarded as military targets,” UN said in the statement. “Moreover, civilians working in or attending polling stations cannot under any circumstances be regarded as military targets, as civilians present at polling stations do not lose their status as civilians. International humanitarian law explicitly prohibits attacks against civilians and acts or threats of violence aimed at terrorizing the civilian population.”

UNAMA urged the Taliban to respect and protect civilians and not to threaten them or carry out violence “should they engage in their constitutional right to participate in elections.”

“The UN Mission deplores the level of violence that has taken many lives in the run-up to the elections,” it said in the statement.

UNAMA re-emphasized that attacks directed against polling centres and civilians participating in the electoral process are clear violations of international law, and perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable.

This comes as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) is set to hold the parliamentary elections on Saturday in 32 provinces of the country except for Ghazni and Kandahar provinces.

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