Attacks on Health Care – Yemen
The ongoing conflict in Yemen that escalated sharply in March 2015 and increased targeting of medical facilities and personnel by parties to the conflict has led to the near collapse of the country’s already fragile health care system. Prompted by many reports of these attacks, Watchlist conducted an in-country research mission in December 2016 and January 2017. Watchlist found that more than 160 attacks had been carried out by parties to the conflict throughout Yemen, including the damage or destruction of medical facilities through airstrikes, shelling, or utilization of improvised explosive devices; occupation and looting of medical facilities; threat, intimidation, extortion, detention, or killing of medical personnel; damage or theft of ambulances, and denial of passage at checkpoint to persons attempting to reach medical facilities to receive lifesaving treatment or deliver essential medicines and supplies. Watchlist also found that disruptions in health care access from these attacks have compounded challenges to children’s health, which were already exacerbated by the escalation of the conflict. In the past two years, an increase in conflict and targeted attacks on medical facilities and personnel have led to more children directly injured, suffering, and dying from preventable conditions, including acute malnutrition, acute respiratory infections, and diarrheal disease.
Watchlist calls upon all parties to the conflict to immediately cease attacks against medical facilities and personnel and on concerned member states to take concrete measures to remedy impunity for violations of international law relating to the protection of medical care and the provision of humanitarian aid in armed conflict.