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Swedish body tells troops not to harm health centres

07 December, 2012

KABUL: The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) on Thursday urged foreign forces not to trespass on healthcare facilities and urged troops to respect sanctity of the public facilities.

The strong call came from SCA, a non-government organistion, after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan National Army soldiers raided the SCA-supported clinic in Sewak, Chak district in central Wardak province

In a statement, the SCA said, in November, soldiers occupied the clinic for three days, using it as a detention centre, where several clinic staff and civilians were held. In the incident, the surrounding wall was partially destroyed and the clinic badly damaged. As a result, the clinic remained closed and health workers were prevented from fulfilling their duties, and no patients could seek medical care.

SCA Country Director Andreas Stefansson said that the raid was "not only totally unacceptable breach against all established rules, but can also have a negative long-term impact on access to healthcare for ordinary Afghans."

"Through incidents as these, patients and health staff lose confidence in the health facility as a neutral zone respected by warring parties and will thus fear approaching it again," he added.

The Geneva Convention states clearly that medical personnel, as well as fixed and mobile medical units, should be respected by all warring parties and under no circumstances should be attacked.

End.

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