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Open Letter to UN Secretary General on the Freezing Deaths of Children in the Refugee Camps in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the Efforts of the British Afghan Woman’s Society to Prevent Further Deaths This Winter

24 October, 2012

Dear United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

As the world knows, last winter at least 100 young children in Afghanistan froze to death as a result of inadequate clothing, blankets, food, and fuel for heating in the refugee camps in Kabul alone. Freezing deaths of children were reported by both Mr. Rod Nordland of the New York Times and by the BBC. Amnesty International last week said in a press release announcing an open letter to the UN and international non-governmental organizations working in
Afghanistan:

“Urgent steps are needed if Afghanistan is to avoid a repeat of the deaths among children and adults in the country’s displacement camps that occurred during last year’s bitterly cold winter conditions, a coalition of 30 NGOs including Amnesty International said today. Last winter was unusually cold in Afghanistan, and more than a 100 people,
mostly children, died in refugee camps from the cold or illness.”

We of the British Afghan Women’s Society are pleased to inform you we and other private citizens have arranged an airlift of winter baby clothes and other winter items departing from Liege Airport in Belgium on October 30th, which gives all interested parties the opportunity order and send or deliver boxes of winter items to:

British Afghan Women’s Society
Room 4, Community House, 311, Fore Street, Edmonton, N9 0PZ, London, UK

Being sought most are warm winter clothes for children of all ages but especially for ages 0-10, such as hats, mittens, wool baby socks, blankets, baby formula, and powdered milk. Items should be boxed in cardboard and the contents specified.

The call for assistance has been made, and we are answering it. The air cargo space which has been generously donated by private air cargo companies, led by Mr Myron. D Stokes of Global HeavyLift Holdings Inc. of Bloomfields Hills, Michigan, can easily handle a few more tons of air cargo. We are looking forward to helping the international
humanitarian assistance community transform words into action, by most gratefully accepting both donations of cargo, as well as monetary donations which we can put toward purchasing more winter items to be delivered by local vendors in Belgium.

For more information on monetary donations please go to the following link, and reference donation with the note “winter012.”
http://www.britishafghanwomen.org/2/fundraising/ways-to-donate/

All donations will be acknowledged publicly by the British Afghan Women’s Society in a major press release. As well, a gala “thank you” dinner for donors and participants is planned.

Questions may be directed to Zarghona Rassa at the email:

baws_uk@yahoo.com and/or info@britishafghanwomen.org

telephone: 0044(0)208 3736350

As you know, Mr. Secretary-General, approximately 35,000 Afghans live in the refugee camps in Kabul, almost all of them fleeing the raging violence in the countryside. The freezing deaths of children in the refugee camps were due to inadequate clothes, blankets, food, and fuel for heat for families living mostly in unheated tents. The world was
shocked when it learned that the deaths took place in the most secure region of Afghanistan, which is a bustling hub of commercial and international activity.

Indeed, some have argued that NATO is in violation of the Geneva Convention which details “duties and responsibilities of an occupying
power” under Article 59:

“If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.”

We urge you, Mr. Secretary-General, to deploy all the resources at your command to help us make this project a success, which is named Deadra’s Flight, after a recently-passed friend of the Afghan people who urged us to “move heaven and Earth” to help the children. It is high time the world ceased averting its gaze to the enormous,
unnecessary suffering of so many Afghans.

 

Sincerely,

Zarghona Rassa, British Afghan Women’s Society

Myron D. Stokes, Global HeavyLift Holdings Inc. (leading air transport effort)

Ralph Lopez, Jobs for Afghans

Sources:

Amnesty International Open Letter:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA11/019/2012/en/9eef4073-92d0-4a9a-9942-8031e148a3b5/asa110192012en.pdf

Amnesty International Press Release:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20393

Urgent Appeal UK/US/EU/Asia/Middle-East – Help with Airlift of Winter
Children’s Clothes to Afghanistan Wanted
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/urgent-appeal-ukuseuasiamiddle-east—help-with-airlift-of-winter-childrens-clothes-to-afghanistan-wanted-174768661.html

 

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