MAG Statement on the Attack against Healthcare Facilities in Gaza

“Protect Healthcare Amidst Conflict”

The Medical Action Group denounces any assaults on civilian populations and healthcare facilities, as these acts imperil the safety and medical well-being of innocent individuals including health workers and patients. The recent report of Israeli airstrikes targeting a Gaza City hospital, already filled with wounded civilians and those seeking refuge, resulting in the tragic loss of hundreds of lives, is deeply troubling.

These attacks on civilian populations, particularly on healthcare facilities, not only violate fundamental principles enshrined in humanitarian laws and human rights but also infringe upon the universal right to health. It is crucial to underscore that even amid conflict, medical care requires protection and respect. When healthcare facilities are subjected to attacks during armed conflicts, the immediate casualties are only one aspect of its dire consequences. These assaults also cause long-lasting damage by depriving communities of essential medical services, thus intensifying the humanitarian crisis.

The hospitals and health facilities cannot be collateral damage in any conflict. Collective punishment of populations and their sanctuaries including places of worship and hospitals violate international norms and standards and can never be justified. We earnestly call upon all states at war and parties to adhere to humanitarian and human rights principles and exercise restraint in conflict zones, ensuring that healthcare facilities remain sanctuaries for those in need. International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) were established to limit the impact of war on civilians and protect the safety and dignity of every individual. Unfortunately, these rules are all too frequently violated.

We also implore the international community to take resolute action to prevent further harm to civilians and healthcare facilities, reaffirming the fundamental principles of humanity and the right to have access to healthcare, even during times of conflict.

We demand accountability for these heinous acts! It is evident that unless these attacks are met with sanctions, those seeking to inflict harm on civilians will persist. It must be stopped!

We must not allow civilians to bear the heaviest burden of the failure of conflicting parties to adhere to the norms and laws or war that guarantee the safeguarding of the civilian population. We must protect the people and healthcare in conflict zones.