MSF slams UN powers over launched attacks on hospitals

Medical aid group, Medecins Sans Frontieres slams UN powers over hospital attacks as the UN Security Council demanded an end to such strikes.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Injured MSF staffs in a hospital attacked by US war planes in Afghanistan.

Medical aid charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), on Tuesday accused four of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for launching raids on hospitals in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan as the council seek to halt such attacks in war-torn countries.  

"Four of the five permanent members of this council have, to varying degrees, been associated with coalitions responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year," she said.

"These include the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, the Russia-backed, Syrian-led coalition." 

The council composing of 15-members unanimously adopted a resolution urging countries to abide by international law that they must protect medical and aid workers, but the draft does not apply any measures and does not underline out any conflicts.    

Joanne Liu, head of the MSF, urged the council to lead by example, particularly the permanent veto-wielding powers including the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.   

More than 50 people were killed amid an attack on a hospital in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused the Syrian regime “by all accounts” alongside Russia backing the regime.

"Such attacks must end. When so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong," Ban told the council. "Explanations ring hollow to parents burying their children and communities pushed closer to collapse."

"All too often, attacks on health facilities and medical workers are not just isolated or incidental battlefield fallout, but rather the intended objective of the combatants," he said.

"This is shameful and inexcusable."

The UN resolution "strongly condemns the prevailing impunity for violations and abuses committed against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel ... as well as hospitals and other medical facilities in armed conflict."

Peter Maurer, president of the international committee of the Red Cross, described the UN resolution as "a momentous step in the international community's effort to draw attention to a problem that we otherwise risked getting used to through the sheer frequency of its occurrence."   

In October, a Saudi-led coalition strike hit an MSF hospital, leaving 200,000 people without healthcare. The US, Britain and France sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

The United States also conducted a deadly air strike on Oct. 3 destroying an MSF hospital. Last week, Washington said it had taken disciplinary action against 16 service members over the strike.

TRTWorld, Reuters