MSF: Hospitals Are Now Normal Targets Of War In Yemen


Al-Thawra Net

The targeting of hospitals and humanitarian workers in war is quickly becoming a “new normal”, a top official at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said, describing permanent members of the UN security council as complicit in the killing of medics.

Humanitarian specialist Michiel Hofman said permanent members of UN security council are complicit in killings by supporting countries in conflict.

According to The Guardian, Michiel Hofman, a senior humanitarian specialist at the charity, offered a grim analysis, saying instead of rebel groups it was conventional armies that were repeatedly violating the laws of war. He chided the permanent members of the security council, four of whom are engaged in conflicts where medics are targeted, saying such a situation had not occurred since the Korean war in the 1950s.

“When we talk about the bombing of hospitals, bombing means air forces,” he said, “rebel groups don’t have air forces, so this is exclusively states who by definition have much larger firepower […] and they are the ones that actually signed these conventions.”

The civil war in Yemen by Saudi-led coalition has also seen attacks on medical facilities.

The Guardian reported that the security council unanimously passed a resolution on 3rd May demanding an end to attacks on medical workers and hospitals in war zones, but Hofman said those who passed the resolution, including the UK, are themselves complicit in the killing of medical workers.

Hofman was referring to the military and logistical support provided by four of the permanent members of the security council to countries and coalitions that have bombed hospitals.

The report pointed out that the US has provided logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, reportedly including targeting data, while the UK and France have both sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the launch of the Yemen campaign, decisions that have been repeatedly condemned by human rights groups.

“Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has questioned the neutrality of MSF’s hospitals, saying Houthi fighters were also being treated there,” Hofman said to the Guardian.

He added “In this case, the Saudi coalition, which has the air forces, is using a similar logic where most of their bombings are quite indiscriminate and so the hospitals are not given any protective status.”

“In the conversations, we’ve been challenged as to how far these hospitals are being neutral or not,” Hofman indicated.

Hofman concluded medics operating in combat zones had “the right and the duty to treat everyone, including combatants, and that is being challenged by a lot of states at the moment”.