Saturday, October 3, 2015

US military conducted air strike near MSF hospital where 19 died

The US military has said it conducted an air strike near a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Afghan city of Kunduz where 19 staff and patients, including three children, were killed in a blast.

The US military said it had launched a strike during battles with the Taliban that "may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility" but said details were still not clear and promised an investigation.

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has led a chorus of condemnation, without saying who carried out the strike, and that an assault on a hospital could amount to a war crime...

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  1. Senior United Nations officials today condemned what they called a “tragic” and “inexcusable” air strike on the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz early this morning, which resulted in the deaths and injuries of medical personnel, patients and other civilians....

    “Hospitals accommodating patients and medical personnel may never be the object of attack,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative for Afghanistan in a news update, noting that international humanitarian law also prohibits the use of medical facilities for military purposes.

    Mr. Haysom commended Médecins sans Frontières for its work, and expressed condolences to the medical personnel, their patients, family and friends.

    “I reiterate my call on all parties to the conflict to respect and protect medical and humanitarian personnel and facilities,” the UN envoy added.

    Meanwhile, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, said he is “deeply concerned” for the MSF staff and their patients, and the loss suffered by the people of Kunduz. “The civilian population is now facing a further acute situation, finding themselves cut off from vital medical support,” he warned.

    From Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said there must be a swift, full and transparent investigation into the airstrikes that hit the clinic.

    “This event is utterly tragic, inexcusable, and possibly even criminal,” Mr. Zeid said in a news release. “International and Afghan military planners have an obligation to respect and protect civilians at all times, and medical facilities and personnel are the object of a special protection. These obligations apply no matter whose air force is involved, and irrespective of the location."..............


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