Geneva – Conflict parties in Sudan must ensure the continued operation of medical facilities there by protecting these sites from all military action, thus enabling the flow of essential medical and logistical supplies, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.
Euro-Med Monitor received complaints from doctors and health workers in several Sudanese hospitals and health centres, particularly in the country’s capital city of Khartoum, concerning the disruption of medical supplies, fuel, and water as a result of ongoing clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for the fourth day in a row, threatening the health of hundreds of hospitalised patients and even injuring some.
Some Sudanese hospitals are suffering from critical shortages of medical and operational supplies. The Khartoum Teaching Hospital’s oxygen supply is nearly depleted, for instance, and the International Hospital in Khartoum North is suffering from a lack of water and fuel. Furthermore, most of the hospitals in areas of armed clashes are experiencing a severe supply shortage, as well as intermittent power outages.
The presence of military forces observed in some hospitals and health centres indicates that the conflicting parties may be using these locations for military operations, especially given the deployment of dozens of members of the RSF in the Al Saha Specialised Hospital, east of Khartoum. Mutual shelling has targeted and severely damaged several medical facilities in Khartoum, including the Bashair Teaching Hospital, the Ibn Sina Specialised Hospital, and the Al-Shaab Teaching Hospital.
The work of medical personnel has been greatly hampered by the ongoing clashes and a lack of safe routes. Doctors and patients at Khartoum’s Dr Salma Dialysis Centre were forced to evacuate two days ago in extremely dangerous field conditions after one patient was killed and another injured as a result of military operations in the centre’s vicinity. Despite their receiving reports of dead and injured people in these areas, medical workers informed Euro-Med Monitor that they were unable to visit several areas witnessing armed conflicts, due to the ongoing clashes and a lack of guarantees for their safety.
“The conflicting parties in Sudan must establish humanitarian corridors to allow health workers to perform their life-saving roles in these critical circumstances, as well as secure all medical and logistical needs for hospitals and health centres and completely protect them from military action,” said Mohammad Moghabat, Euro-Med Monitor’s regional office director in Lebanon.
“The continued disregard for providing protection and support for civilian objects, particularly hospitals and health centres, may result in a complete collapse of health care services, affecting the lives of thousands of patients and reducing the chances of saving hundreds of injured people who are currently hospitalised,” Moghabat added.
According to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD), the number of civilians killed as a result of the ongoing conflict has risen to 144 as of Tuesday morning, 18 April. Over 1,400 people, both civilians and military personnel, are injured.
Targeting civilian objects, which include hospitals and other medical facilities, is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and may constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Relevant UN and international parties must apply maximum pressure on Sudan’s conflict parties to protect civilians and civilian objects, particularly medical facilities and health workers, from military action; establish safe humanitarian corridors to evacuate the dead and injured; allow health workers to perform their duties; and enable civilians to secure their basic needs.
Sudan’s army and the Rapid Support Forces must cease all military action immediately and unconditionally, resolve all disputes through dialogue and peaceful means, and stop exploiting national capabilities and exposing civilians to danger and destruction.