UN urges safety for Pakistan's internally displaced

New York, Mar 29 : Humanitarian camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) must provide safe environments for those living and working there, a United Nations independent expert has stressed, adding that attacks such as the recent one on the Jalozai camp in Pakistan were "prohibited under all circumstances."

In a press statement released Thursday, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, underscored that the death of innocent displaced persons was "unacceptable."

"Indiscriminate attacks are inhuman and banned in international humanitarian law," Beyani declared as he offered his "sincere condolences" to the victims' families.

"The humanitarian nature of the IDP camp must be maintained, and adequate safety arrangements must urgently be put in place to protect the displaced and allow a safe work environment for humanitarian agencies," he added.

According to reports provided by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 10 civilians and one aid worker were killed and many more injured when a car bomb exploded at the Jalozai camp in Nowshera district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 21 March. The camp lies in a particularly volatile corner of the country not far from the Afghanistan border.

"Such attacks against IDP camps are prohibited under all circumstances," the UN expert continued. "Humanitarian aid workers must be protected and should not become the object of an attack."

Beyani called for the "insecure working environment" of the camp to be immediately addressed so as not to hinder aid workers' efforts to protect and provide assistance to the IDPs in Nowshera district, while urging local authorities to "strengthen safety measures and improve security arrangements" around the Jalozai camp in order to ensure the safety of the IDPs.

In addition, he expressed "deep gratitude" to the UN for its continuing commitment to Pakistan's IDPs in what he described as "a difficult and dangerous operating environment."

"The work of the United Nations and international and national civil society for the uprooted is indispensable to protect lives."

--IBNS (Posted on 29-03-2013)

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