Human Rights Watch: Terrorists Threaten and Kidnap Medics and Steal Ambulances

Militant forces in eastern Ukraine have threatened medical staff, stolen and destroyed medical equipment and hospital furniture, and compromised the ability of civilian patients to receive treatment. The militants have also expropriated ambulances and used them to transport active fighters which is strictly prohibited under the laws of war.

According to Cennsor.NET Human Rights Watchpublished a report on medical apect of the conflict in EasternUkraine.

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"Pro-Russian insurgents' attacks on medicalunits and personnel are putting sick and vulnerable people andthose who care for them at risk," said Yulia Gorbunova, Europe andCentral Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. "This appallingdisregard of people who are sick or wounded can be deadly and needsto stop immediately."

Human Rights Watch has also documented attacks on hospitals byexplosive weapons that killed at least two medical staff. While thecircumstances suggest Ukrainian armed forces launched some of theseattacks, further investigation is needed to determineresponsibility.

Medical units are civilian objects with special protections underthe laws of war. They include hospitals, clinics, medical centersand similar facilities, and ambulances and other medicaltransportation, whether military or civilian. Parties to a conflictmust ensure that medical personnel are not endangered or harmed,and hospitals and ambulances are not attacked, damaged, ormisused.

Through on-the-ground investigations in eastern Ukraine, HumanRights Watch found that insurgent armed fighters unlawfullyexpropriated and used ambulances to transport combatants,threatened medical staff, and damaged and stole medical equipment.Human Rights Watch also found that to secure treatment for theirwounded, insurgents occupied hospital wards and buildings,compromising the safety of patients and staff and the treatment ofcivilian patients.

Human Rights Watch documented how insurgent forces unlawfullyseized at least four ambulances in Sloviansk and used them totransport able-bodied armed fighters in Donetsk. A Human RightsWatch researcher witnessed ambulances in Donetsk transportingable-bodied armed fighters through the city.

Insurgents seized wards to treat wounded insurgent fighters in atleast two hospitals: the Kalinin Hospital in Donetsk and the LeninCity Hospital in Sloviansk. In the Lenin City Hospital and in theSemyonovka psychiatric hospital, insurgents also stole or destroyedsurgical equipment, furniture, and, in the Lenin City Hospital,patient files. While the laws of war do not explicitly prohibitrequisition of civilian hospitals for treatment of woundedfighters, such requisition should not be detrimental to patients.In all cases, the wards were in regular use by the hospitals, andthe seizure inevitably had a negative effect on the treatment ofcivilian patients, Human Rights Watch said.

Источник: https://en.censor.net.ua/n296743