UN condemns the bombing of Médecins Sans Frontières in Kunduz, Afghanistan

In Human Rights by Dusty Croghan

October 3rd 2015 – Médecins Sans Frontières in Kunduz, Afghanistan was hit several times during bombings by coalition forces.  Early numbers state 12 staff members and at least 10 patients, including 3 children were killed, with further presumed dead.  At least 37 people were injured including 19 staff members.

The United Nation’s Secretary-General issued a statement that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law. He called for a “thorough and impartial investigation into the attack in order to ensure accountability”.  Médecins Sans Frontières has been operating the only hospital in Kunduz. The Secretary-General commended the courageous and dedicated staff of the organization and extended his deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured in this attack.

The war in Afghanistan is officially the longest war in U.S. history, starting in October 2001.

Update Tuesday October 27th, 2015:  Days after the bombings, The US government admitted that it was their airstrikes that hit the hospital.  Barack Obama issued an apology for the strikes on Doctors Without Borders Hospital calling the bombings that killed at least 30 an accident. Médecins Sans Frontières is asking for an independent international investigation into war crimes.

The US government’s description of the attack continues to change from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government.  The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) has been activated.

The following statement was given directly to Ahamo by the IHFFC:

“The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), an independent body established by Article 90 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, has proposed its services to the Governments of the United States of America and Afghanistan through identical letters dated 7 October 2015. The IHFFC offered its services on its own initiative.

It is for the concerned Governments to decide whether they wish to rely on the IHFFC. The IHFFC can only act based on the consent of the concerned State or States. The IHFFC cannot give any further information at this stage.

The offer of the IHFFC relates to the events in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on 3 October 2015.”