Burnt vehicles in front of a hospital hit by airstrikes in rebel-held Aleppo. Reuters
The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution reminding members that intentional attacks on medical facilities are war crimes.
The resolution comes after a series of such attacks in Syria and other countries, including one last year in which U.S. forces bombed a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Afghanistan, destroying it and killing and injuring scores of medical personnel and patients.
MSF hospital in Kunduz, before and after the 2015 U.S. airstrike destroyed it. Image: MSF
The Kunduz hospital bombing didn't amount to a war crime, U.S. military authorities said in April, because it was caused by "unintentional human errors, process errors, and equipment failures," and “other factors.”
Commenting on the unanimously passed UN resolution, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “when so-called surgical strikes end up hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong.''
A sign honors 14 medical personnel killed when a U.S. airstrike destroyed the MSF hospital in Kunduz. REUTERS
From a May 4, 2016 episode of PRI's radio news program The World:
The Council heard an impassioned plea from Joanne Liu, the president of Doctors Without Borders, also known by its acronym in French, MSF.
"This resolution must lead to all state and non-state actors stopping the carnage. You must also pressure your allies to end attacks on health care and population in conflict areas. We will not leave patients behind, and we will not be silent. Seeking or providing health care must not be a death sentence. You will be judged not on your words today, but on your actions."
Liu called it “an epidemic,” and that “hospitals and patients have been dragged onto the battlefield.”
Read the UN resolution in entirety: "Security Council Adopts Resolution 2286 (2016), Strongly Condemning Attacks against Medical Facilities, Personnel in Conflict Situations"
Related, from our archives: Obama apologizes to aid group for bombing hospital. MSF: Thanks, but we want an investigation
Afghan guards stand at the gate of MSF hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz. REUTERS
Debris litters the floor in MSF's Kunduz Trauma center. [Photo: MSF]
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