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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – About 30 Afghan National Army officers received education on basic human rights and international humanitarian law from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan July 11 at the 203rd Thunder Corps headquarters at Forward Operating Base Thunder.
The four-hour training block discussed the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, civilian immunity and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Attendants were encouraged to discuss such questions as “What is a civilian?” and “What are Human Rights?”
Each officer received a certificate upon completing the course.
Members from the Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team, U.S. State Department and the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission were present as observers.
The 203rd Thunder Corps requested the training for their officers to reinforce standards of conduct, said ANA Col. Said Waqif Shah, the cultural advisor for the 203rd Thunder Corps. The goal is to have four more installations of the same training so all the senior officers will be well-versed in basic human rights and international humanitarian law.
“If (a 203rd Thunder Corps) officer does something that crosses the boundaries and does something he shouldn’t have done, we have options for dealing with those people,” he said. “I think it was very productive.”
When U.S. Army Col. Kenneth E. Ring, Jr., the deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101 Normandy Tactical Assault Command, entered the room, he was pleased to see that the ANA officers were engaged in a deep discussion about the subject matter, he said.
“The situations that we find ourselves in everyday require that we have an understanding of what we should do and why we should do it,” Ring said during the course. “It is important to share ideas on these subjects.”
One of the U.N. officers present was Marguerite Roy, UNAMA-Gardez head of office.
“It is important that the population realize the government is there for them; thus, by applying the knowledge they have gained in this first session on basic human rights and humanitarian law – and hopefully other trainings – it is hoped they will be able to demonstrate to the population a greater recognition of and respect for their rights while carrying out their duties,” Roy said in an e-mail statement about the training.
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