Tell President Obama to Consent to Independent Investigation of Kunduz Hospital Bombing
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(Photo by Andrew Quilty)
In the early morning hours of October 3, a U.S. gunship repeatedly bombed a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan. The attacks killed 30 people, including 13 MSF staff members, 10 patients, and 7 others who have not yet been identified.* More than three dozen patients and MSF staff were injured as well, and the hospital itself was destroyed, leaving several hundred thousand people without access to emergency trauma care.
Survivors have recounted it as a horrifying experience. Beyond that, attacking a protected site such as a hospital is a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions. The precise GPS coordinates of the four-year-old MSF hospital in Kunduz were provided to U.S. and Afghan authorities in Washington and Kabul in the days prior to the bombing, and the hospital contained nearly 200 patients and staff at the time of the attack.
Investigations have been launched by the U.S., NATO, and the Afghan government, but it is impossible to expect the parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of acts in which they themselves are implicated.
It was for that reason, and in the name of our killed and wounded colleagues and patients—and for all of our staff and patients worldwide—that MSF called for an independent international investigation into the events of October 3 by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), the only permanent body set up specifically to investigate violations of international humanitarian law.
Now that the call to mobilize the IHFFC has been answered, we are calling for the United States and the Obama administration to consent to the IHFFC investigation into the Kunduz hospital bombing, as it must before a truly impartial truth-seeking investigation can be launched.
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By signing this petition, you can add your voice to these calls and demand that parties to this conflict—and parties to conflicts the world over—respect the statutes of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions.
The preservation of health facilities as neutral, protected spaces depends on this. If not for the recognition of these principles, MSF and other humanitarian organizations could not work in conflict zones and other places rife with violence. We could not deliver the medical care so many people so desperately need.
That is why our call is not only about Kunduz and not only about the United States. It is directed at all nations, and all parties to conflicts, and it is an opportunity for all to reaffirm their commitment to International Humanitarian Law, to reaffirm the right of organizations like ours to provide medical care independently and impartiality in conflict zones, and to reaffirm the effort to bring some humanity to the worst of circumstances, now and into the future.
Please add your voice, and call on people in your networks to add their voices, to our call on the United States and the Obama administration to consent to the IHFFC investigation into the Kunduz hospital attack. Because even wars have rules.
* Please note, the number of people killed in the attack was updated on October 24 to include additional people whose identities were confirmed and some whose bodies were found in the wreckage but have not been identified to date, due to their condition.
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