On 1 April 2011, a large crowd of demonstrators, angry at the burning of a copy of the Koran by a group in the United States, stormed an operations centre for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, (UNAMA) in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Three international staff working with the mission were killed, including a human rights officer, as well as four Nepalese Gurkha soldiers serving as guards at the operations centre. An unconfirmed number of Afghan demonstrators were killed. Many staff were also wounded.
The United Nations in Afghanistan:
UNAMA is a political mission established by the Security Council in 2002 at the request of the Government to assist it and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development in the country.
UNAMA Human Rights is pursuing an overall strategy of “embedding human rights in Afghanistan” or “human rights everywhere all the time for everyone” in support of all Afghan people. The UNAMA Human Rights team implements this strategy through targeted research, reporting, advocacy and engagement in strategic partnerships and dialogue with Government, military, international and civil society actors, and communities across Afghanistan in four priority areas: protection of civilians, violence against women, peace and reconciliation and detention.
Joakim Dungel, 1978-2011
Joakim Dungel, a national of Sweden, was a human rights officer with UNAMA. He had just joined the Mission in February 2011. Joakim had also worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Joakim studied law first of all in his native Sweden at Goteborg University, and subsequently in Canada at Sherbrooke University and in the United States at New York University.