Every Nation Backing the War Including the US Must Answer For the Bombings of MSF Hospitals

Via CommonDreams:

“From the United States to the United Arab Emirates, every country backing the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign against Yemen “bears responsibility” for Wednesday’s bombing of a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in southern Yemen, a spokesperson for the medical charity told Common Dreams.

“We feel it is their responsibility to ensure that their fighter jets avoid medical facilities,” Karline Kleijer, MSF operational manager for Yemen, said over Skype from Amsterdam.

Kleijer confirmed that the MSF-operated medical center, located in the southern city of Taiz, was hit despite the fact that MSF had repeatedly communicated its precise GPS coordinates to the Saudi-led coalition. What’s more, Kleijer revealed that the charity had called the coalition earlier on the day of the bombing to express concern about “two air strikes a few hours earlier that were also close to our hospital.”

Yet hours later, the hospital was bombed, wounding nine people, at least two of them MSF staff and a four-year-old child. As of Friday, at least one of those people had died, but Kleijer did not know the identity of this person. “We are still collecting the facts and trying to understand the context a bit more around the air strikes,” she said.

“Our general concern is that our clinic is in a civilian area. There is no reason to believe there was any military activity to justify that air strike. We are confused and upset.”
—Karline Kleijer, MSF operational manager for Yemen

Meanwhile, the Saudi coalition released a statementon Friday, published in the state-run Saudi Press Agency, which claimed that the alliance will launch an investigation to “verify whether the news is true.” The statement added that aid groups need to have “beforehand coordination” and “remain away from the places where the Houthi militias are present.”

While Kleijer welcomed the coalition’s investigation, she rejected many of its claims, emphasizing that the charity helps all in need of care, regardless of affiliation. “Of course we need to work in Houthi-controlled areas, as we are working in Saudi-controlled areas,” she said, adding: “We have no indication there was any military activity or presence near our clinic area.

“What we would like to know is what went wrong and why our GPS coordinates were not followed up and respected,” she continued. “Our general concern is that our clinic is in a civilian area. There is no reason to believe there was any military activity to justify that air strike. We are confused and upset.”

Kleijer said it is too soon to say whether the bombing was intentional or accidental. “What we are concerned with is the fact that medical facilities are being targeted, or these coalitions and their armies are—with all of their high-technology equipment—are attacking the wrong areas. I don’t know which one is worse.”

The day after of the bombing, Jerome Alin, head of mission for MSF in Yemen, declared in a press statement: “There is no way that the Saudi-led coalition could have been unaware of the presence of MSF activities in this location.”

The airstrike marks the third U.S.-backed attack on an MSF facility in recent weeks. The Saudi-led coalition struck an MSF-supported hospital in Haydan District in Sa’ada, Yemen in October. Also in October, a direct U.S. bombing on an MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan killed 13 staff members, 10 patients, and 7 people whose bodies were unrecognizable. The Syrian government also bombed an MSF-supported hospital in Homs earlier this week.

MSF has repeatedly demanded an independent international investigation of the Kunduz bombing under the Geneva conventions, but the U.S. has so far refused to consent.”

To read the rest of the original article, go here: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/12/04/every-nation-backing-war-including-us-must-answer-hospital-bombing-msf

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