Historians Against the War

Sign the Statement

HAW Conference

Speakers Bureau

Press Releases and Statements

Virtual Movement Archive

Teach-In

Teaching Resources

GI Resistance

Civil Liberties and Academic Freedom

Links

Join our Listserv

Download HAW images

HAWblog

About us / Contact us


Thursday, October 08, 2015

[haw-info] justice for Doctors without Borders

This message from CREDO Action is forwarded on behalf of the Steering Committee of Historians Against the War.



Dear Friend,
 
In the middle of the night on Saturday, a U.S. military plane "repeatedly and very precisely" bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital filled with doctors, nurses and wounded patients in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
 
The airstrike killed twelve Doctors Without Borders staff members and ten patients, including three children, and injured scores more. Some patients literally burned alive in their hospital beds.
 
So far, the Pentagon has only released incomplete and contradictory accounts of what happened and why.
 
On Sunday, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) stated that: "Under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body. Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient."
 
The world needs to know how and why this grave violation of International Humanitarian Law was committed. Those responsible for what we presume to be an atrocious war crime must then face justice. Please join Doctors Without Borders in calling for an immediate and independent international investigation.
 
 
The Pentagon initially claimed that the hospital was hit by accident after U.S. troops nearby came under fire and called in the airstrike, then later changed its story and said that no U.S. troops were in the area and that Afghan troops called in the strike.
 
But the Pentagon's story simply doesn't add up. According to Doctors Without Borders: "Not a single member of our staff reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the U.S. airstrike on Saturday morning... We reiterate that the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched."
 
Further, "The bombing took place despite the fact that MSF had provided the GPS coordinates of the trauma hospital to Coalition and Afghan military and civilian officials as recently as Tuesday, September 29, [five days before the airstrike] to avoid that the hospital be hit."
 
Shockingly, the bombing continued for more than half an hour after Doctors Without Borders staff began making frantic calls to U.S. and Afghan military officials.
 
The Pentagon's claim that the hospital was bombed by accident is also contradicted by statements by Afghan officials, who have tried to justify the attack by claiming that the hospital was used by the Taliban for military purposes. Doctors Without Borders responded to this reprehensible claim with a statement saying: "MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz.
 
These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.
 
This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as 'collateral damage.'
 
There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation."
 
The human cost of this crime far exceeds the staff and patients killed in the airstrike. The hospital, which in 2014 treated 22,000 and performed more than 5,900 surgical procedures, was the only free trauma care hospital in northern Afghanistan, where the Afghan military and the Taliban are currently engaged in heavy fighting. Doctors Without Borders has now closed the hospital.
 
We cannot allow this horrific act to be swept under the rug, and, as the Pentagon's shifting account of the attack shows, we can't trust the same people who may have participated in a war crime to investigate it. We need an independent investigation.
Thank you for taking action.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home