Medical care under fire

On 3 October 2015, US airstrikes killed 42 people and destroyed the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Since then there have been further attacks on medical facilities run and supported by MSF in Syria and Yemen.

Hospitals are being continually dragged onto the battlefield, and patients and their doctors and nurses are sacrificed in the process. It was the destruction of the Kunduz Trauma Centre, and the devastating assault on health facilities in Syria and Yemen that led to UN Security Council Resolution 2286 being passed in May 2016. The resolution strongly condemned attacks on medical facilities  and demanded that all parties to armed conflict comply fully with their obligations under international law. However, with one hand States sign a resolution to protect health facilities, while with the other they continue to be directly involved or complicit in the ongoing onslaught against health workers and patients in conflict zones.

Every attack on a health facility the chasm widens between the rhetoric from governments about their respect for International Humanitarian Law, and the way they wage wars in reality. For more than 40 years MSF has negotiated the protection of its medical facilities in conflicts around the world. Our work in convincing warring parties to respect health facilities will continue.