Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand’s efforts to protect civilians as crucial resolution is adopted by UN Security Council

5 May 2016, 17:44 UTC | Worldwide
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Amnesty International strongly welcomes the efforts by New Zealand in its role on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to bring an end to attacks on hospitals and aid workers in conflict zones.

The resolution, which was put forward by several elected UNSC members including New Zealand, Spain and Japan was unanimously adopted by the Council today and condemns attacks on hospitals and on people working in conflicts such as aid workers.  

“Today's resolution is a strong signal that attacks on hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in conflict will not be tolerated, said Carsten Bockemuehl, Advocacy Coordinator at Amnesty International in New Zealand.

“It's an important step towards reaffirming and strengthening the protection of women, children and men caught up in conflict”.

 Carsten Bockemuehl, Advocacy Coordinator at Amnesty International in New Zealand

“It's an important step towards reaffirming and strengthening the protection of women, children and men caught up in conflict”.

This important resolution comes amid continuing reports of attacks on hospitals and high numbers of civilian casualties, including children, in countries like Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

“It is now crucial that all UNSC member states, including the five permanent members (Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States) turn words into reality and immediately bring an end to attacks on healthcare facilities". 

“It is now crucial that all UNSC member states, including the five permanent members (Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States) turn words into reality and immediately bring an end to attacks on healthcare facilities”, said Carsten Bockemuehl

Deliberate attacks on people who are not directly participating in hostilities and on facilities such as hospitals and medical centres are serious violations of international humanitarian law and amount to war crimes. Amnesty International is calling for all attacks to be independently investigated and those responsible held to account.

While the resolution is a welcome first step, Amnesty International encourages New Zealand to continue to focus on the protection of people and infrastructure in armed conflict during its final six months on the Council.

“What we need to see is New Zealand maintain efforts to pressure those parties involved in the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan to stop targeting civilians in attacks that clearly constitute war crimes. This includes working towards ending impunity and mobilising the UNSC to impose targeted sanctions on all those carrying out deliberate attacks on hospitals and other war crimes”, said Carsten Bockemuehl.

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