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PRESS RELEASE, 25 September 2001


Appeal for the Afghan Population
The Foundation Terre des hommes, through the intermediary of its Delegation in Pakistan, has received encouraging news from its local staff in Afghanistan: activities, which had been partially suspended for several days are presently resuming.

Two weeks after the September 11th attack in the United States and in spite of the damage brought to the US Embassy; life seems to slowly return to normal in Kabul.

The Terre des hommes expatriate personnel which had been obliged to leave the country for security reasons is getting ready to return to Afghanistan. In the meantime, the 100 Afghan employees of Terre des hommes continue their work in the projects.

Terre des hommes is present in Afghanistan since 1996, working on both sides of the front lines, both in Kabul and in the Northern Alliance region of Rustaq. Terre des hommes has primarily set up health, education and community development projects for the children and their mothers, as well as centers for street children.

The disaster, which struck the US, is an act of terrorism and an attack against the values, which Terre des hommes defends. Fundamentalists who kill innocent people and attack these universal human values must be stopped and judged. This crime justifies even more the necessity for the reinforcement of international criminal justice (Article 7 of the Statutes of the future International Criminal Court for Crimes against Humanity).

A military response, which would harm another innocent population, is just as unacceptable, in particular since this population is affected since decades by conflicts, famine, by the lack of government structures and by the dislocation of social structures.

Faced with the predicted wave of refugees at its borders, to care and accommodate them is an international legal obligation (principle of non-expulsion if there is a risk of a serious denial of human rights).

Furthermore, Terre des hommes requests from all parties involved to facilitate humanitarian access to those populations which have remained in Afghanistan, and in particular those most vulnerable: women and children.

Finally, Terre des hommes requests that all humanitarian institutions, both national and international, be allowed the freedom of movement and security necessary to carry out their work in the service of the Afghan population.

Contact person at Terre des hommes : Thomas Kurmann : +41 (0) 1 242 80 69

Website : www.tdh.ch

 

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