19 February 2016

UNAMA, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in coordination with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released the 2015 Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, documenting an increase in the numbers of civilian casualties compared with the previous year. UNAMA figures show the highest number of casualties on record since the Mission began reporting on the issue in 2009. It documented over 3,500 deaths – of which one quarter were children and over 7,000 injured persons.  

The majority of the casualties were caused by anti-government elements that have increasingly targeted civilians through either deliberate killings or through suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). However, the report also documented a rise in civilian casualties caused by pro-government forces, including during ground engagement and aerial operations.

The findings of this report further call into question the policy instated or called for by some EU Member States – such as Germany – to increase deportations to the country and to consider Afghans as ‘economic migrants’. Afghans constitute the second largest group seeking asylum in the EU, according to the latest Eurostat data.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 19 February 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.