Saudi-Led Coalition Kills Eleven People In A MSF Hospital In Yemen 


Saudi Arabia air strike has killed  eleven people in a hospital in Yemen. The attack was targeted on a hospital run by France based NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres , the hospital is located in Abs district of northern Yemen’s  Hajja province. Saudi Arabia at present is leading a coalition of countries to attack the Yemen based Houthis  rebels which have succeeded in controlling a major part in the Yemen including the capital  Sana’a, Saudi- Houthis fight is not a new phenomenon and since Saudi linked President had to go for exile in Saudi Arabia; there is continuous attacks by it on the Houthis rebels who have emerged as a serious challenge to Saudi government.

The hospital was under operation of ‘Doctors Without Borders’ since July 2015, and had treated about 4,611 patients. The MSF is working with more than 2500 staff in this war torn country. After the attack MSF issued a statement which brought into light the horrors of the attacks.

‘The GPS coordinates of the hospital were repeatedly shared with all parties to the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition, and its location was well- known.

This is the fourth attack against an MSF facility in less than 12 months,” said Teresa Sancristóval, MSF emergency program manager for Yemen. “Once again, today we witness the tragic consequences of the bombing of a hospital. Once again, a fully functional hospital full of patients and MSF national and international staff members was bombed in a war that has shown no respect for medical facilities or patients.

Even with a recent United Nations resolution calling for an end to attacks on medical facilities and with the high-level declarations of commitment to International Humanitarian Law, nothing seems to be done to make parties involved in the conflict in Yemen respect medical staff and patients,” Sancristóval continued. “Without action, these public gestures are meaningless for today’s victims. Either intentional or as a result of negligence, this is unacceptable.’

The attack is to be condemned and the lead was taken by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon who stated that in last two years both  sides in Yemen damaged or destroyed more than 70 health centers . UN on its part had initiated a peace talks for the conflict. According to UN ‘ following nearly 16 months of conflict in Yemen, the cessation of hostilities was declared on 10 April. While peace talks between a Yemeni Government delegation and a delegation of the General People’s Congress and Ansar Allah have since continued, serious violations have occurred in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia’

The reality is that Saudi Arabia has started to project itself as a military power in the region. It has bolstered its military strength in the recent time. USA and UK both are having close relations with it with respect to arms supply.

The region is already in turmoil and such attacks will accentuate the problems. As long as the US does not limit its support to Saudi Arabia such disturbances will continue. The major point is that Saudi Arabia has exhibited its expansionist concept of its conservative ideology coupled with the military power which it wants to apply on the neighboring countries. Its coalition is also symbol of the particular ideological structure, well supported by the US and its allies. This may be retaliated by Iran and its allies which may push the region into further complexities. The attack on the Yemen hospitals hence has two associated aspects: primarily it is a clear violation of the human rights as the attack on any hospital is never acceptable to sane world community.  The attack was made on a hospital which was being served by a NGO group having no military considerations and intrests. The humanitarian efforts were decimated by the military operations. Similar  attack on MSF was made in Kunduz, Afghanistan too by US forces. This has no place in the contemporary global politics where issue of human rights has the overpowering force to limit the aspirations of the nation states.

Another aspect which may be related to such inhuman attacks is that the conflict in the region may flare up more and a region already in flames may find itself in another burning and more lethal zone of conflict.

In such background the role of UN becomes more important. Equally important is the role of USA and UK, knowing well that Saudi Arabia is doing several mistakes in the global politics, are supporting it the most. The right course of action is that US should put pressure on it to limit its exhibition of military power. It is also imperative that it must be controlled in the expansion of its particular ideology. USA can control it but does not appear to be interested in such actions.

The need is therefore to highlight at least the loss of the humanity in the conflict. The attack is therefore an attack on the human rights of the people who were in the hospital to get them treated. In fact no law permits the states to attack the hospitals. These are well thought actions similar to attacks as made by USA on Japan. There is no limit of the nation states’ lethal power but equally important is that no nation state in the name of preservation of its national interest may kill the innocent people. Public opinion will prove stronger than the military  might of the nations.

Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava is Consultant CRIEPS, Kanpur, e [email protected]


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