Seventeen people - mostly children - have already died this winter in camps holding those internally displaced by the Afghan war, Amnesty International said today.
The deaths occurred in the first two weeks of January in Kabul and Herat provinces, which host most of the country's half a million internally displaced people.
Last winter about 100 people, mostly children and the elderly, lost their lives in the camps and the Afghan government had been urged to prevent a repeat of the tragedy this year.
In Herat province assistance reached refugees returning to Afghanistan from abroad, but aid to those internally displaced was apparently blocked after pressure from the provincial governor's office.
Local authorities were said to be concerned that offering aid to displaced people would encourage them to stay in camps instead of returning to their home provinces.
"Afghanistan and its donor partners should remember that safeguarding lives in these settlements is an obligation under international law," Amnesty said.
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