Security Council Adopts Resolution 2286 (2016), Strongly Condemning Attacks against Medical Facilities, Personnel in Conflict Situations

SC/12347
3 May 2016
7685th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Adopts Resolution 2286 (2016), Strongly Condemning Attacks against Medical Facilities, Personnel in Conflict Situations

Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières Heads, Secretary-General Brief Members

Strongly condemning attacks on medical personnel in conflict situations today, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding an end to impunity for those responsible and respect for international law on the part of all warring parties.

Adopting resolution 2286 (2016), which was co-sponsored by more than 80 Member States, the 15-member Council strongly condemned attacks and threats against the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities.  It deplored the long-term consequences of such attacks for the civilian populations and health-care systems of the countries concerned.

Also by the text, the Council demanded that all parties to armed conflict comply fully with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, as applicable, and international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005.  It demanded also that all parties to armed conflict facilitate safe and unimpeded passage for medical and humanitarian personnel.

“When so-called surgical strikes are hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after the text’s adoption, adding:  “Even wars have rules.”  Urging all parties to conflict and other relevant actors to heed the Council’s demands, he said “the Council and all Member States must do more than condemn such attacks.  They must use every ounce of influence to press parties to respect their obligations.”

Joining the Secretary-General in addressing the Council were the heads of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), entities that he described as reliable partners in providing much-needed care for conflict-affected people in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and other countries.

ICRC President Peter Maurer said 2,400 targeted attacks had been carried out in the last three years against patients and health-care workers, transport and centres in 11 countries.  The targeting of medical centres resulted in deep effects in both the immediate and long terms, he said.  Bombing hospitals meant hundreds of thousands of people losing access to health care and the erasure in seconds of decades-long efforts to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and fight disease.  “Humanity in war is what we demand,” he emphasized.  “Today, with this resolution, you reaffirmed the relevance of the laws of war, the basic humanitarian consensus enshrined in the Geneva Conventions,” he added.  “To demand they are respected through practical measures is the most decisive next step this Council can take to ensure humanity in war is a reality and not just an ideal.”

Similarly, MSF President Joanne Liu described the situation in some of the world’s bloodiest conflicts, citing 300 air strikes on Aleppo, Syria, in the last 10 days.  In Afghanistan, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, hospitals were routinely bombed, raided, looted or burned to the ground, and medical personnel were threatened and patients were shot in their beds.  “We will speak out loudly and with force about what we witness in the field,” she declared.  Such attacks were described as mistakes, but they amounted to a massive, indiscriminate and disproportionate targeting of civilians in urban settings.  While the Security Council was responsible for maintaining peace and security, four of its five permanent members had been associated with coalitions responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year, she noted.

In the ensuing discussion, some Council members described such attacks as war crimes, and others asked for independent investigations into specific incidents.

Malaysia’s representative recalled that hospitals in Gaza had been hit by Israeli strikes in which thousands of civilians had been killed, and that an MSF hospital in Afghanistan had been attacked by the United States military.  Such attacks were simply unacceptable, and in violation of the basic principles of international law, she said, noting that the unanimous adoption of resolution 2286 (2016) reflected the Council’s collective response to deteriorating conditions on the ground.

The representative of the United States expressed regret over that country’s air strikes on the MSF hospital, and offered condolences, noting that more than a dozen military personnel had been disciplined for the errors that had led to the bombing.  She also voiced regret over last week’s horrific attack in Aleppo, which had killed at least 27 people, saying it was clear that the Syrian regime was deliberately targeting medical workers and facilities.

Venezuela’s representative said it was incomprehensible that such violations of humanitarian law could be considered mere “errors” when they were, in fact, war crimes.  They must be investigated impartially, with the perpetrators held accountable.  He also expressed grave concern over the use of remote weapons and drones, given the obvious deadly risk of errors that could result in the bombing of hospitals.

The Russian Federation’s representative noted that the Council had, more than once, called upon all concerned parties to take the necessary measures to ensure their safety.  However, the Council must be guided by reliable information, he emphasized, adding that reports of the secretary-General were critical in that regard.  While there was no doubt that medical personnel worked within their mandate, it was also essential to respect the sovereignty of States.

Also speaking today were representatives of Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Uruguay, United Kingdom, Angola, Ukraine, France, Senegal, China and Egypt.

The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 12:33 p.m.

Action

The Security Council took action on the draft before it, unanimously adopting resolution 2286 (2016).

Opening Remarks

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, described the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as reliable partners playing a unique and vital role in conflict and disaster areas.

He said alarming patterns of systematic destruction of health facilities had been seen in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and other conflict-affected countries.  “When so-called surgical strikes are hitting surgical wards, something is deeply wrong.”  He described attacks on hospitals as a war crime, urging all Member States, parties to conflict and other relevant actors to heed the Council’s demands.  All State as well as non-State parties to conflict were bound by the strict obligation to respect and protect medical personnel, facilities and vehicles, the wounded and the sick.  “These obligations are at the very heart of international law,” he said.  “The Council and all Member States must do more than condemn such attacks,” he emphasized, declaring: “They must use every ounce of influence to press parties to respect their obligations.”

Pointing out that “even wars have rules”, he said the international community must “never become numb” to flagrant abuses against civilians in times of conflict.  That notion would be a key theme of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May, he said, adding that the success of the Summit “is in your hands”.  Appealing for greater intensity on the part of Member States in finding political solutions and in ending bloodshed and suffering, he said that “as the skies over Aleppo and other parts of Syria continue to be filled with barrel bombs and artillery fire, there is a particular need to rescue the cessation of hostilities.  This is crucial for saving lives, for the credibility of the political process and indeed once again this Council.”

PETER MAURER, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that as hospitals and health centres were bombed, a painful paradox demonstrated that the availability of health care was at its lowest in times of the greatest need.  Within three years, the ICRC had recorded 2,400 targeted attacks against patients, health-care workers, transport and health centres in 11 countries.  Describing recent attacks, deaths and rapes involving children, pregnant patients and staff, he said international law was intended to protect civilians and targeting medical centres had deep immediate as well as long-term effects.  Bombing hospitals meant hundreds of thousands of people losing access to health care, erasing in seconds decades-long efforts to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and fight disease, he said.

“This resolution marks a momentous step in the international community’s efforts to draw attention to a problem that we otherwise risk getting used to through the sheer frequency of its occurrence,” he declared.  “But after outrage must come action, not complacency.”  As such, the text must be the beginning of a practical effort, he said.  The ICRC and other medical organizations representing 30 million health-care professionals had drawn up ethical principles of health care in times of armed conflict and other emergencies to guide their work.  To ensure that resolution 2286 (2016) was not a mere text, but a spirit that was respected, he proposed, among other initiatives, aligning domestic legislation with obligations under international law and training military personnel to minimize disruptions to health-care services.

He went on to propose providing support for local health-care organizations in maintaining minimum services, improving legal protection for patients and health-care workers, and ensuring that every weapons transfer was accompanied by an assurance of respect for international humanitarian law.  “Humanity in war is what we demand,” he said.  “Even wars have limits because wars without limits are wars without ends.”  Today, with resolution 2286 (2016), the Council had reaffirmed the relevance of the laws of war, and the basic humanitarian consensus enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.  “To demand they are respected through practical measures is the most decisive next step this Council can take to ensure humanity in war is a reality and not just an ideal,” he stressed.

JOANNE LIU, President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said there had been 300 air strikes in Aleppo over the last 10 days, and civilians, often in crowds, had been struck repeatedly.  In Afghanistan, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, hospitals were routinely bombed, raided, looted or burned to the ground.  Furthermore, medical personnel were threatened and patients were shot in their beds.  While such attacks were described as mistakes, in reality, they amounted to a massive, indiscriminate and disproportionate targeting of civilians in urban settings, she said.  “The attacks demolish routine and life-saving health care for all, and make life impossible,” she emphasized.

She went on to say that, given the frequency of attacks, she could no longer assume that fully functioning hospitals were out of bounds.  In fact, they had been dragged onto the battlefield.  Noting that accountability started with impartial fact-finding, she said calls for independent investigations had gone unheeded, stressing that, while the nature of warfare might have changed, the rules of war had not.  She pointed out that the Security Council was responsible for maintaining peace and security, yet four of its five permanent members had been associated with coalitions responsible for attacks on health structures over the last year.  “We will speak out loudly and with force about what we witness in the field,” she declared, calling upon the Council to stop those attacks.

Statements

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) noted that the Geneva Conventions clearly outlined that medical personnel and facilities should be respected and protected at all times.  While the resolution did not focus on any specific country, the situation in Syria was getting worse, he said.  It was unfortunate that attacks against medical personnel and facilities had increased considerably over the years, and in light of that, there was an urgent need to adopt a resolution focusing exclusively on their protection.  The next step was implementation of the resolution by the international community, he said, emphasizing the need to strengthen compliance with international humanitarian law.  Establishing and reforming domestic legal frameworks was crucial for progress, he stressed.

GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) said the adoption of the resolution had come at a time when health-care workers and facilities were under fire in a number of conflicts.  Health-care workers had been killed and injured, kidnapped and intimidated for carrying out their medical duties, and urgently needed medical supplies had been routinely blocked from aid convoys by protagonists.  That alarming trend showed no sign of abating as the attacks on medical facilities in and around Aleppo starkly illustrated.  With the text’s adoption, the Council had spoken with one voice to deliver a firm response to that growing problem, demanding that parties to armed conflicts facilitate safe and unimpeded passage for medical personnel, their equipment, transport and supplies to all in need.

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) said that since his country had joined the Security Council, not a single day had passed without an attack on medical personnel and facilities.  While some attacks were the result of human error, others were definitely deliberate and called for urgent measures.  Expressing regret that doctors in Aleppo had been forced to work underground to provide medical services, he said medical personnel had been working in the most difficult places in order to ensure that no patient was left behind, and that situation must change.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) emphasized that attacks against medical personnel and facilities were perpetrated by some Member States, and expressed hope that the text just adopted would not be “just another resolution” to which States expressed commitment but which had not taken any forward steps.  Voicing regret over the deliberate targeting of medical facilities in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, he noted that thousands of people had been left defenceless, while the lives of medical personnel had been jeopardized.  Emphasizing that international law was the guiding principle of Uruguay’s foreign policy, he said those responsible for attacks must be held accountable.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said that while medical facilities and personnel had clear protection under international law, the newly adopted resolution must demand compliance, noting that the long existence of protections for medical personnel was slowly unravelling “before our eyes” in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and other countries.  An ambulance, a doctor or a nurse must be a sign of hope, not a target, he emphasized.  Citing a letter recently written by Syrian doctors in Aleppo, he said “the city is bleeding”, and soon it would have no medical professionals at all.  It was sickening to see the people who could stop the bleeding attacked and maimed.  The Syrian regime was conducting a systematic campaign against medical professionals trying to save civilians, he said, adding that if the Russian Federation believed in protecting medical workers, it would bring its influence to bear and restrain the regime.  He requested an urgent open briefing by the Secretary-General on the situation in Aleppo.

ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) described attacks against medical and humanitarian personnel and health centres as flagrant violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions, emphasizing that perpetrators must be held accountable.  Since the adoption of the Council’s first resolution on civilian protection, a great deficit remained in terms of the realities facing civilians in conflict situations, he said, adding that the resolution just adopted would help to fill that gap.  Deeply concerned by reports of targeted attacks, he said the recent death of the last paediatrician in Aleppo was a grim reminder that action was urgently needed.  Condemning all such attacks, he called on all parties to comply fully with international humanitarian law and human rights law, urging all those involved in conflict to ensure that civilians were protected.

VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) noted that in today’s conflicts, hospitals were increasingly becoming common targets.  Last week’s attacks on the Al Quds Hospital in Aleppo, Syria, reminded the international community of the enormous difficulties and dangers that health care workers faced every day.  Such incidents spoke volumes about the horrendous humanitarian situation in Syria and the complete disregard for all relevant norms of international humanitarian law.  In Yemen, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 99 health facilities, including hospitals and clinics, had been damaged or destroyed, while in Afghanistan, attacks on health facilities and personnel had increased 50 per cent in the last year, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.  Those responsible for such war crimes must be held accountable, and in that regard, Ukraine called on all States to fully cooperate with existing international criminal justice institutions, including the International Criminal Court, to combat impunity and ensure respect for international humanitarian law.

EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) emphasized that it was unacceptable that such medical personnel continued to suffer attacks since people’s lives depended on their work.  The Security Council had, more than once, called upon all concerned parties to take the necessary measures to ensure their safety.  However, the Council must be guided by reliable information, he said, describing reports of the Secretary-General as critical.  The protection of civilians was the responsibility of parties to conflict according to the Geneva Conventions, he said, adding that, while there was no doubt that medical personnel worked within their mandate, it was also essential to respect the sovereignty of States.

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said it was critically important to ensure that medical personnel were respected and protected, regardless of their affiliation.  The United States had supported all efforts to ensure that medical facilities were fully operational.  Expressing regret over her country’s air force attack on the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, she offered condolences and said that more than a dozen military personnel had been disciplined for the errors that had led to the bombing.  The United States would study what had gone wrong, she added.  She also voiced regret over the horrific attack in Aleppo last week, which had killed at least 27 people, saying it was clear that the Syrian regime was deliberately targeting medical workers and facilities.  According to several organizations, more than 150 attacks had taken place in the country, the vast majority by the regime, she said.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), noting the growing number of attacks against medical personnel and health infrastructure in conflict areas, notably in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq, said that in Syria alone, 654 medical personnel had been killed since the beginning of the war, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  The Council could not remain silent in the face of such an unacceptable situation, he emphasized, calling on countries that had not yet done so to ratify the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions.  “It is our collective responsibility to reinforce the protection of medical personnel and health infrastructure in conflict zones,” he said, adding that access to medical care was a non-negotiable right guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions.  Attacks on hospitals, medical facilities and health workers could constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, he said, stressing that the Council must promptly take up the situation in Aleppo.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal) noted that the freshly adopted text expressed the Council’s will to include the protection of humanitarian convoys in United Nations peacekeeping mandates.  Senegal’s armed forces were helping to manage the protection of hospitals in several peacekeeping missions.  He condemned incidents of indiscriminate bombing, the dropping of barrel bombs on civilian targets and the use of famine as a weapon of war.  He also expressed appreciation for the Council’s focus on the Ebola outbreak and its effects on countries in West Africa.  Senegal hoped the World Humanitarian Summit would provide an opportunity to end the current crisis, he said.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said the text was a response to violations of international humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions that could constitute war crimes.  Hospitals had become targets instead of care centres, with lawless violence raging on battlefields worldwide.  Venezuela had never fought a war nor participated in a coalition, he pointed out.  Expressing support for the views expressed by the ICRC and the MSF, he said the first step in implementing resolution 2286 (2016) could involve national armed forces committing themselves to respecting international laws, he said, urging all States to avoid regarding the resolution as an instrument of rhetoric or propaganda, and to view it as a tool for action.  Human rights violators must be held accountable, he said, expressing grave concern over the use of remote weapons and drones, given the obvious deadly risk of errors that could result in the bombing of hospitals.  Voicing incomprehension that such actions could be considered mere “errors”, he said such violations of humanitarian law were, in fact, war crimes and must be investigated impartially, with the perpetrators held accountable.

LIU JIEYI (China) said recent threats against medical personnel and centres had raised grave concerns.  Moving forward, States must ensure civilians were protected while ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions.  Acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and facilities must be investigated and perpetrators punished.  For their part, medical personnel and humanitarian organizations must comply with the United Nations Charter and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, he emphasized.  As for the Council, it should carry out preventive diplomacy to encourage the settlement of differences through negotiations.

SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia) said the resolution was an important milestone and a timely response to inhumane attacks against medical personnel and institutions.  Expressing regret that hospitals in Gaza had been hit by Israeli strikes in which thousands of civilians had been killed, she also recalled that an MSF hospital in Afghanistan had also been attacked by the United States military.  Such attacks were simply unacceptable, and in violation of the basic principles of international law, she said, noting that the unanimous adoption of resolution 2286 (2016) reflected the Council’s collective response to the deteriorating situation on the ground.  The protection of civilians, including humanitarian personnel, must be at the core of the Council’s work, she emphasized, expressing Malaysia’s strong support for all steps to ensure accountability in the protection of civilians.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), Council President for May, spoke in his national capacity, saying there had been widespread support for the resolution.  Attacks against medical workers and facilities created hatred in society and undermined the possibility of peaceful settlement.  International humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, called for full respect for and protection of health personnel and institutions, he said, adding that the Council, for its part, must send a strong political message that such violations could not occur.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2286 (2016) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Reiterating its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and, in this context, the need to promote and ensure respect for the principles and rules of international humanitarian law,

Recalling all relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 2175 (2014) and 1502 (2003) on the protection of humanitarian personnel, resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006), 1894 (2009) and 2222 (2015) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005) relating to the establishment of a monitoring and reporting mechanism on children and armed conflict, and resolution 1998 (2011) on attacks against schools and/or hospitals, as well as relevant statements of its President related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and to the protection of medical personnel and humanitarian personnel in conflict zones,

Recalling all relevant General Assembly resolutions, including resolution 70/104 entitled Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel, 70/106 entitled Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, and 69/132 entitled Global health and foreign policy,

Recalling the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, as applicable, as well as relevant customary international law concerned with the protection of the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, and the obligation of parties to armed conflict to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstances,

Recalling the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, and its Optional Protocol,

Recognizing the particular challenges faced by humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties and medical personnel and reaffirming that all humanitarian personnel are entitled to respect and protection under international humanitarian law,

Stressing that identification of medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities may enhance their protection, and in this regard, recalling also the obligations, in situations of armed conflict, pertaining to the use and the protection of the distinctive emblems under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and where applicable, their Additional Protocols,

Recalling further the specific obligations under international humanitarian law to respect and protect, in situations of armed conflict, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, and hospitals and other medical facilities, which must not be attacked, and to ensure that the wounded and sick receive, to the fullest extent practicable and with the least possible delay, the medical care and attention required,

Recalling also the obligation under international humanitarian law to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks, and the obligations to do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection, including medical personnel their means of transport and equipment, and hospitals and other medical facilities, and recalling further the obligation to take all feasible precautions with a view to avoiding and in any event minimizing harm to civilians and civilian objects,

Deeply concerned that despite these obligations, acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, are being perpetrated in situations of armed conflicts and that the number of such acts is increasing,

Recalling that locally recruited medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties account for the majority of casualties among such personnel in situations of armed conflict,

Further concerned that the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, to populations in need is being obstructed by parties to armed conflicts in many conflict situations,

Recalling that under international humanitarian law, persons engaged in medical activities shall not be compelled to perform acts or to carry out work contrary to the rules of medical ethics or to other medical rules designed for the benefit of the wounded and the sick,

Convinced that acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, and obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, may exacerbate ongoing armed conflicts and undermine the efforts of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the need for all parties to armed conflict to respect the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, and reaffirming also the need for all actors engaged in the provision of such assistance in situations of armed conflict to promote and fully respect these principles,

Urging States to ensure that violations of international humanitarian law related to the protection of the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities in armed conflicts do not remain unpunished, affirming the need for States to ensure that those responsible do not operate with impunity, and that they are brought to justice, as provided for by national laws and obligations under international law,

Recalling that, under international law, attacks intentionally directed against hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided that they are not military objectives, as well as attacks intentionally directed against buildings, material, medical units and transport and personnel using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions in conformity with international law are war crimes,

Stressing that the fight against impunity and to ensure accountability for war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law has been strengthened through the work on and prosecution of these crimes in the international criminal justice system, and in this regard reiterating the importance of State cooperation with international courts and tribunals in accordance with States’ respective obligations,

Noting that medical personnel, and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, in an armed conflict situation, continue to be under a duty to provide competent medical service in full professional and moral independence, with compassion and respect for human dignity, and always to bear in mind human life and to act in the patient’s best interest and stressing the need to uphold their respective professional codes of ethics, and further noting the applicable rules of international humanitarian law relating to the non-punishment of any person for carrying out medical activities compatible with medical ethics,

Reaffirming the primary responsibility of States to protect the population throughout their whole territory and recalling in this regard that all parties to armed conflict must comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international humanitarian law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and medical personnel,

“1.   Strongly condemns acts of violence, attacks and threats against the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, and deplores the long-term consequences of such attacks for the civilian population and the healthcare systems of the countries concerned;

“2.   Demands that all parties to armed conflicts fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, as applicable, and international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977 and 2005, to ensure the respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities;

“3.   Demands that all parties to armed conflicts facilitate safe and unimpeded passage for medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their equipment, transport and supplies, including surgical items, to all people in need, consistent with international humanitarian law;

“4.   Strongly urges States and all parties to armed conflict to develop effective measures to prevent and address acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities in armed conflict, including, as appropriate, through the development of domestic legal frameworks to ensure respect for their relevant international legal obligations, the collection of data on obstruction, threats and physical attacks on medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and medical facilities, and to share challenges and good practice in this regard;

“5.   Underlines the important role that education and training in international humanitarian law can play in supporting efforts to halt and prevent acts of violence, attacks and threats against the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities;

“6.   Calls upon States to ensure that their armed forces and security forces, within their respective competencies under domestic law, make or, where relevant, continue their efforts to integrate practical measures for the protection of the wounded and sick and medical services into the planning and conduct of their operations;

“7.   Emphasizes the responsibility of States to comply with the relevant obligations under international law to end impunity and to ensure those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law are held to account;

“8.   Strongly condemns the prevailing impunity for violations and abuses committed against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities in armed conflict, which in turn may contribute to the recurrence of these acts;

“9.   Strongly urges States to conduct, in an independent manner, full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations within their jurisdiction of violations of international humanitarian law related to the protection of the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities in armed conflict, and, where appropriate, take action against those responsible in accordance with domestic and international law, with a view to reinforcing preventive measures, ensuring accountability and addressing the grievances of victims;

“10.  Expresses its intention to ensure that the mandates of relevant United Nations peacekeeping operations can, where appropriate and on a case-by-case basis, help to contribute to a secure environment to enable the delivery of medical assistance, in accordance with humanitarian principles;

“11.  Encourages the Secretary-General, in accordance with his prerogatives under the Charter of the United Nations, to bring to the attention of the Security Council situations in which the delivery of medical assistance to populations in need is being obstructed by parties to the armed conflict;

“12.  Requests the Secretary-General to include in his country-specific situation reports, and other relevant reports which address the protection of civilians, the issue of the protection of the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, including recording specific acts of violence against them, remedial actions taken by parties to the armed conflict and other relevant actors, including humanitarian agencies, to prevent similar incidents, and actions taken to identify and hold accountable those who commit such acts;

“13.  Further requests the Secretary-General to promptly provide the Security Council with recommendations on measures to prevent incidents of the kind described in the above paragraph and to better ensure accountability and enhance the protection of the wounded and sick and medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities;

“14.  Further requests the Secretary-General to brief the Security Council every twelve months on the implementation of this resolution.”

For information media. Not an official record.