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Afghanistan: UN Deplores Murder

Afghanistan: UN Deplores Murder Of Regional Director Of Women’s Affairs

New York, Sep 25 2006 10:00AM

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today deplored the “senseless murder” of a leading woman official working for gender equality in the southern city of Kandahar.

Safia Annajan, Director of Women’s Affairs in Kandahar, was shot and killed outside the front gate of her home as she left for work this morning.

“UNAMA is appalled at the senseless murder of a woman who was simply working to ensure that all Afghan women play a full and equal part in the future of Afghanistan,” spokesman Aleem Siddique told a news briefing in Kabul.

Mr. Siddique stressed that despite security constraints in the south and south eastern regions of the war-torn, UN agencies are striving to ensure that both humanitarian and development assistance reaches communities affected by the conflict.

In humanitarian and development assistance, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) have already pre-positioned humanitarian supplies in the southern provinces. UNICEF is leading on delivering essential non-food items such as blankets, warm clothing, medical kits and other essential non-food items for u῰ to 1,500 families, while WFP has positioned 322 metric tons of food in Kandahar, and in Lashkargah city in Helmand province, enough supplies for 3,000 people.

Additionally the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is providing some 4,300 shelter units to build homes for over 30,000 Afghans as part of its initial reintegration effort for vulnerable returnees. The project includes 740 shelter units for four districts in Kandahar province, and 300 units for three districts in Helmand province.

In south eastern Afghanistan, more than 850 houses have so far been completed in Paktya and Khost provinces, while another 2,100 shelter units have reached the roofing level. Countrywide, UNHCR’s shelter programme aims to help more than 18,000 families to build their houses in 2006. About half of the planned shelter for the year have already been completed, with the rest expected to be completed by the end of the year.

With some 85 per cent of Afghan women and 55 per cent of men illiterate, UNICEF is working with the Education Department to start building 55 new schools in four provinces. The people of Nangarhar and Nuristan will benefit from 18 new schools, while 10 new schools are planned in Kunar and a further 9 new schools in Laghman province. The project, including both formal and community-based schools, will cost $1,357,000.

Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are helping the Health Ministry carry out a polio eradication initiative throughout the country, which has seen a six-fold rise in the number of cases over last year (28 cases confirmed in 2006 compared to 4 in the same period in 2005). The two agencies are also carrying out parallel campaigns for vaccinating women of childbearing age (15-45) against neonatal tetanus and children from 9 months to 5 years against measles.

Ends

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