This must be stopped: Ukrainian human rights defenders have provided the UN with evidence of numerous Russian attacks on Ukrainian hospitals

This week, Ukrainian co-authors of the “Destruction and Devastation: One Year of Russia’s Assault on Ukraine’s Health Care System” report and colleagues from Physicians for Human Rights are at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. MIHR is represented by Lyubov Smachylo, the analyst.

Diana Rusnak, an analyst at the Ukrainian Healthcare Center, on behalf of the report’s authors, in her speech at HRC52, emphasized that nearly one in ten of Ukraine’s hospitals has been directly damaged by deliberate and indiscriminate attacks; 48 hospitals were hit multiple times. In some cases, as in Mariupol, health infrastructure is entirely destroyed.

“We believe Russian attacks on Ukraine’s healthcare likely constitute war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity. These attacks follow a consistent pattern of disregard for international law and distinction between civilian and military targets. It is imperative that the global community takes action to end violence against healthcare and hold perpetrators accountable,” — Rusnak said.

Lyubov Smachylo emphasizes the importance of the participation of human rights defenders in the meeting of the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council: “We are bringing to the international community the extent of the destruction that Russia has inflicted on Ukraine and the extent of the consequences of Russian aggression. The figures announced in Geneva (which are not even final because Russia continues to attack the civilians) strengthen Ukraine in its efforts to hold perpetrators accountable and liberate from captivity civilian hostages, among whom are Ukrainian doctors.”

The report documents how Russia appears to have both deliberately and indiscriminately targeted Ukraine’s health system as part of a broader attack on Ukraine’s civilian population and infrastructure. The research was conducted jointly by Physicians for Human Rights, eyeWitness to Atrocities, Insecurity Insight, Media Initiative for Human Rights, and the Ukrainian Healthcare Center. Read more about the report on our website.

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