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Afghanistan: Lubbers condemns murder of five MSF staff

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Afghanistan: Lubbers condemns murder of five MSF staff

3 June 2004

3 June 2004

GENEVA - U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers today condemned the murders of five Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland staff on Wednesday in western Afghanistan's Badgis Province.

"All of us at UNHCR convey our deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of these five humanitarians who were so brutally slain," said Lubbers.

"I join the rest of the UN family and the entire humanitarian community in condemning this cold-blooded attack and in calling for the apprehension of those responsible so they can be brought to justice," Lubbers said. "Humanitarian workers worldwide are under fire as never before. This has got to stop."

Among those killed were MSF's Belgian project coordinator, a Dutch logistician and a Norwegian doctor as well as two Afghan staff.

More than 30 aid workers, including 23 Afghan nationals, have been murdered while carrying out relief work in Afghanistan over the last year. UNHCR's Bettina Goislard was shot and killed last November in Gardez in the east of the country, in the first fatal attack on a UN official since the fall of the Taliban.

Following Wednesday's killings, the UN refugee agency suspended all travel in Badgis Province and grounded its staff based in the provincial capital, Qala-e-Now.

UNHCR works closely with MSF in Afghanistan. The medical aid agency vaccinates children passing through UNHCR's encashment centres and provides health care for displaced Afghans at UNHCR's Zhare Dasht camp west of Kandahar.