For Immediate Release: April 2, 2011
Washington, DC – Human Rights First strongly condemns the mob attack on a United Nations compound in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, resulting in the deaths of as many as twenty U.N. workers. “Afghan authorities should carry out a full investigation of the attack and bring to justice all individuals responsible for carrying out and inciting these violent acts,” said Human Rights First’s Tad Stahnke. “We urge the Afghan authorities to issue an immediate condemnation of the incident, making clear that such acts undermine the rule of law and will not be tolerated.” The violence in Afghanistan was in apparent response to the news of a Koran-burning by the Dove World Outreach Center, a fringe group in Florida, USA, which was reported by media outlets throughout the world. Human Rights First is concerned by reports that some Afghan leaders have made statements that suggest the attack was justified by Dove’s actions. Dove’s actions—though deeply offensive, counterproductive, and roundly condemned, including by HRF—are in no way a justification for attacks on UN officials and other civilians in Afghanistan.