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Statement on the hospital bombing in Mariupol, Ukraine

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Russian attack on a maternity and children’s hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, on 9 March, in which there were a number of casualties.
This is a senseless attack on civilians, including healthcare workers. They are not a target.

This is a senseless attack on civilians, including healthcare workers. These are war crimes and they violate International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions.

As it stands, Russia has acted with impunity in this war, as it has in Chechnya and Syria with other attacks on healthcare facilities and other civilian targets. We believe that the Russian government must be held accountable. Healthcare workers and civilians are not a target.

Similarly, the repeated failure to open up safe passageways for civilians out of besieged cities is unacceptable. The longer this continues, the more obvious it becomes that this is a deliberate strategy to prolong and deepen the suffering of people trapped in these conflict zones, with direct implications on healthcare provision and access.

As well as the immediate destruction, trauma and loss of life, there are also many indirect health consequences of these actions. These include access to essential reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare being disrupted, as well as the impact on older and vulnerable people whose access to essential drugs and services will have an immediate effect on their lives and wellbeing.

All of this when we know that people’s health needs and vulnerabilities will only increase as the humanitarian crisis worsens.

Assistant Professor Jennifer Palmer, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre Co-Director
Associate Professor Neha Singh, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre Co-Director
Professor John Edmunds, Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre Co-Director 
Professor Susannah Mayhew, Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health Co-Director
Professor Joy Lawn, Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health Co-Director
Professor Debra Jackson, Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health Co-Director

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