Iran blasts attacks on world medical centers
Iran’s UN mission has strongly condemned military attacks on medical centers across the world as well as attempts at justifying the atrocities as “unintentional mistakes.”
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholam-Ali Khoshroo made the remarks on Thursday at a UN Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed violence.
Also attending the meeting were United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Christine Beerli, and Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy of New York-based body Human Rights Watch Bruno Stagno Ugarte.
Khoshroo denounced the targeting of health facilities in conflict zones, especially in Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, describing such assaults as one of “the banes of our time.”
He said UN Security Council 2286, which was ratified last year, meant to prevent such attacks, but they have seen a rise ever since. The same year witnessed 23 such attacks, of which the Middle East took the brunt, the senior diplomat added.
Khoshroo said the perpetrators try to justify the atrocities by billing them as “operational mistake,” adding that their repeated use of the pretext makes it hard to believe the claims.
He referred to the October 2015 US airstrike against a hospital in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, which killed dozens of people, including staff serving the Doctors Without Borders organization.
Khoshroo said none of the perpetrators of the attack, which has likewise been described as a “mistake,” have so far faced punishment.
As another example, the envoy said, Israel targeted Palestinian medical centers, staffers or equipment more than 416 times last year alone.
He also pointed to Saudi Arabia’s brutal military campaign against Yemen, which has taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure and health facilities.
“This invasion has been taking place right before the Security Council’s eyes. More importantly, the US has been increasingly lending military, logistical and training support to the invaders,” Khoshrou added.
Also addressing the event was the UN chief, who said 15 people including three medical staff were reported killed when a hospital in Yemen was hit in an airstrike, just a few months after the adoption of Resolution 2286,
Guterres said parties to conflicts are treating hospitals and clinics as targets rather than respecting them as sanctuaries.
“Despite our efforts, civilians continue to bear the brunt of conflict around the world,” Guterres told the 15-member council, adding that the root causes of conflicts must be addressed.