Feb 18, 2009

A F G H A N I S T A N Annual Report on Protection of Civilians

Executive Summary
1. This Report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict in Afghanistan in 2008 iscompiled in pursuance of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)mandate under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1806 (2008). UNAMA conductsindependent and impartial monitoring of incidents involving loss of life or injury to civiliansas well as damage or destruction of civilian infrastructure and conducts activities geared tomitigating the impact of the armed conflict on civilians. UNAMA’s Human Rights Officers(national and international), deployed in all of UNAMA’s regional offices and someprovincial offices, utilize a broad range of techniques to gather information on specific casesirrespective of location or who may be responsible. Such information is cross-checked andanalysed, with a range of diverse sources, for credibility and reliability to the satisfaction ofthe Human Rights Officer conducting the investigation, before details are recorded in adedicated data base. However, due to limitations arising from the operating environment,such as the joint nature of some operations and the inability of primary sources in mostinstances to precisely identify or distinguish between diverse military actors/insurgents,UNAMA does not break down responsibility for particular incidents other than attributingthem to “pro-government forces” or “anti-government elements”. UNAMA does not claimthat the statistics presented in this report are complete; it may be the case that, given thelimitations in the operating environment, UNAMA is under-reporting civilian casualties. InJanuary 2009, UNAMA introduced a new electronic database which is designed to facilitatethe collection and analysis of information, including disaggregation by age and gender.

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