Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has welcomed the decision by the United Nations (UN) to investigate attacks at health facilities in Syria, but says the UN Security Council must do more than just investigate and must “ensure this violence ends before more innocent lives are lost.”
Last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the establishment of an internal UN Headquarters Board to investigate events relating to the destruction of or damage to facilities on the deconfliction list and UN-supported facilities in the area, which have occurred since the signing of the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey on 17 September 2018.
The announcement came just days after PHR’s director of policy, Susannah Sirkin, addressed the Council, calling for an immediate investigation into recent attacks on healthcare in Idlib and northwestern Syria in violation of protection agreements.
PHR has documented and mapped attacks on healthcare in Syria since March 2011. Since that date, it has recorded at least 578 attacks, with 890 medical personnel killed.
Sirkin said the urgent establishment of the Board, the rapid execution of its investigation and a public report of its findings will be “essential to prevent more crimes.”