Stephanie Nebehay / Reuters and The Huffington Post & teleSUR – 2016-05-29 19:59:55
Nearly 1,000 Killed In Attacks
On Health Workers In Past 2 Years, WHO Says
Over 60 percent of those attacks were deemed intentional
Stephanie Nebehay / Reuters & The Huffington Post
GENEVA (May 26, 2016) — Nearly 1,000 people were killed in attacks on health centers worldwide over the past two years, almost 40 percent of them in Syria, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday in its first report on the issue.
The United Nations agency documented 594 attacks resulting in 959 deaths and 1,561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies between January 2014 and December 2015.
Syria, torn by civil war since 2011, had the most attacks on hospitals, ambulances, patients and medical workers, accounting for 352 deaths. The Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, as well as Iraq, Pakistan and Libya, followed.
Some 62 percent of all attacks were deemed intentional and many led to disruption of public health services.
“This is not an isolated issue, it is not limited to war zones, it is not accidental. The majority of these are intentional,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, executive director of WHO’s emergency program, told a news briefing.
“It is getting more and more difficult to deploy people into these places, it is getting more and more difficult to keep them safe when they are there and it is getting more and more difficult to ensure they survive, let alone recover in crises.”
Aylward, speaking later at an event at the WHO’s annual ministerial assembly, said: “It is not stopping, two days ago a suicide bomber blew himself up and took 40 people with him at least in one of the main hospitals in Latakia (Syria).”
The casualty figures include 42 killed and 37 wounded in a US air strike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October.
A US military report last month said the incident did not amount to a war crime but was caused by human error, equipment failure and other factors. MSF has called for an independent inquiry.
“Last year, 75 hospitals managed or supported by MSF were bombed,” Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, told the WHO event.
“From Yemen to Syria, from Central African Republic to Niger, health facilities are looted, burned and bombed. Patients are slaughtered in their beds. Health care workers are abducted, assaulted or killed,” she said.
WHO said 53 percent of the attacks were perpetrated by states, 30 by armed groups and 17 percent remain unknown.
“One of the most important rules of war is that you don’t attack health care facilities, health care providers, the sick, the disabled. So these attacks do represent gross violations of international humanitarian law,” said Rick Brennan, WHO director of emergency risk management and humanitarian response.
“Violations of international humanitarian law, if proven, can be considered war crimes and the perpetrators can be taken to the International Criminal Court,” he said.
Doctors Without Borders Says 75 Hospitals Bombed in 2015;
Leaves Humanitarian Summit
ISTANBUL (May 10, 2016) — Doctors Without Borders on Thursday pulled out of a UN-sponsored World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23-24 saying there was no hope that the meeting would address the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response, particularly in conflict areas or epidemic situations, while claiming 75 of their hospitals were bombed in 2015.
The organization, better known by their French acronym MSF, believes that during the summit will not hold states involved in conflicts accountable or pressure them to abide by humanitarian norms. The medical aid organization says it does not have hope in the “fig leaf” summit.
“We no longer have any hope that the World Humanitarian Summit will address the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response, particularly in conflict areas or epidemic situations,” MSD said in a statement.
“As shocking violations of international humanitarian law and refugee rights continue on a daily basis . . . participants will be pressed to a consensus on nonspecific, good intentions to ‘uphold norms’ and ‘end needs’.”
Sandrine Tiller, an adviser for the organization said that UN organizers of the summit had “let states off the hook” by asking only that they make non-binding commitments, putting them on the same level as less powerful non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies.
“The summit has become a fig-leaf of good intentions, allowing these systematic violations, by states above all, to be ignored,” the MSF explained.
The announcement comes after Doctors Without Borders on Tuesday slammed five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for ties to attacks on hospitals in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.
The attack on the Syrian hospital killed at least 50 people according to a statement by the organization. They also claim that 75 hospitals managed or supported by Doctors Without Borders were bombed in 2015.
MSF Accuses US, UK and France of Attacks on 3 Hospitals
(May 3, 2016) — The president of Doctors Without Borders, Joanne Liu, addressed the United Nations on Tuesday:
The United States, the United Kingdom and France are linked to recent attacks against hospitals in Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, the international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders told the United Nations on Tuesday.
During a UN Security Council session, Joanne Liu, the medical aid group’s president, said that although the UN has the mandate to push for peace and security around the globe, at least three of its permanent members have violated their mission on various occasions.
â€œFour of the Security Council’s five permanent members have been involved with coalitions responsible for the attacks on hospitals,â€ she said, suggesting Russia was involved as well, an accusation that has not been proven and that only reflects the Western’s insistence on blaming other countries for the very same things they are responsible of through media reports by mainstream media outlets that are biased.
Syria’s government recently denied any responsibility in the attack in Aleppo.
In the case of Afghanistan, the attack on the hospital in Kunduz was carried out by NATO forces that include the US, UK and France.
In Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition — which is strongly backed by the US and other allies — the attacks on the hospital there were carried out with weapons provided by the United States and the United Kingdom. France provided logistical support.
Liu highlighted she believes that the only country in the Security Council not involved in such tragic incidents is China. The most recent attack on a hospital was carried out in Aleppo, Syria, where 50 people were killed. Responsibility for the attack is yet to be proven, although Doctors Without Borders claims the Syrian government and Russia were involved.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.