In May the UN Security Council adopted a wide-ranging resolution designed to protect health care in conflict. On September 28, under New Zealand’s leadership, it will have a briefing and consultation on the resolution, designated 2286, including consideration of the Secretary General’s extensive recommendations for its implementation.
Although Resolution 2286 was a welcomed landmark, the upcoming discussion of next steps challenges member states to take the strong actions needed to lessen the likelihood of attacks on hospitals and health workers and to impose severe consequences on perpetrators of such attacks. But the session represents more than that: After the paralysis the Security Council has exhibited in light of the horrific, relentless attack on an aid convey in Syria on September 20, the very credibility of the Council is at stake.
That atrocity was only the latest attack on hospitals and humanitarian operations since the resolution was adopted. In Syria alone, six hospitals were attacked in Aleppo Governorate at the end of July, the highest number the region experienced in a single week since the war began. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reports 19 of its facilities in Syria have been attacked since Resolution 2286 was adopted. Hospitals and health workers in Yemen, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, have also been attacked in the last three months. They continue a pattern the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition showed in a report issued the same month Resolution 2286 was adopted of deliberate or indiscriminate strikes on health care that kill medical workers and patients, decimate medical infrastructure, and rob countless civilians of vital medical care in no more than19 countries around the world. Read more