UN urges all parties to refrain from targeting hospitals
KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations on Tuesday reminded all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan of their obligation to respect the provision of healthcare, not to harm medical personnel and patients and to ensure that the protected status of medical facilities was respected.
In a statement the UN said in two incidents in the last week, access to healthcare was under attack, resulting in deaths and injuries.
“Medical facilities, medical personnel, and those who are receiving treatment, for disease or conflict-related injuries, must never be placed at risk, let alone subject to attack,” said Mark Bowden, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator and the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“The work that humanitarian and medical personnel carry out must not be restricted, and all parties to the conflict must abstain from actions that may place these persons or facilities at risk.”
On Monday, a suicide attacker targeting Afghan security forces detonated an improvised explosive device in proximity to the entrance of the health clinic in Seyagard district of central Parwan province, killing seven civilians and injuring seven others including three boys.
On February 18, Afghan Ministry of Interior Special Forces and the international military conducted a joint operation in the Tangi Sayedan area of Daimirdad District of central Maidan Wardak province.
They entered a government health clinic funded by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan. After the manager of the facility was tied up and other medical personnel forced with him into a room, two patients and a 15-year-old boy on visit were taken to a nearby shop and summarily executed, the statement said.
The 2015 UNAMA-OHCHR Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict issued earlier this month documented an increase in the number of conflict-related incidents deliberately targeting hospitals, clinics and health personnel.
The UN reiterated that intentional attacks on or in the vicinity of education facilities and hospitals, or on their personnel, committed as part of the ongoing conflict, constituted violations and abuses of international human rights law, breaches of international humanitarian law, and also violated the Constitution of Afghanistan.
All parties to the conflict are bound to uphold the international humanitarian law principles of distinction and precautions in attack, and spare the civilian population or persons hors de combat and civilian objects from harm.
The UN urged all parties to refrain from targeting hospitals and to take all feasible precautions to prevent casualties among their patients and personnel.
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