Iraq

Al Numan Hospital in Baghdad closed by the Iraqi Army

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Doctors for Iraq condemns the attack on Al Numan Hospital, Baghdad by Iraqi military forces on 29th April 2007 and considers the attack a severe breach of a basic medical neutrality and humanitarian laws.

Al Numan Hospital is one of the main hospitals in Baghdad providing medical care to a population of more than 50,000 as a direct beneficiaries living in Aadhmyia town. The hospital is the main sources of medical care for residents of Al Aadhmyia a predominately Sunni area of the city where US and Iraqi forces have recently start building a wall enclosing the community for the rest of the city. Al Numan hospital was the only medical facility in the capital where Sunni patients would travel to the hospital believing that armed militia wouldn't target them in the hospital because of it's location in a Sunni area.

Doctors working in the hospital reported that the Iraqi army invaded on Sunday 29th of April, the army were carrying an order to shut the hospital down authorised by the Iraqi Ministry of Health. Medical staff report being attacked by soldiers, some beaten badly.

Doctors for Iraq has been informed that the raid on Al Numan hospital followed a week of several military invasions of the hospital where some patients were arrested by soldiers whilst receiving or waiting for treatment in their hospital beds.

Such breaches of the Geneva Conventions will put at risk the life of patients and dramatically decrease access to health services especially for vulnerable groups such as women and children. And force patients to seek treatment in areas considered being unsafe for them because of the ethnical and sectarian tensions.

Doctors for Iraq calls on the Iraqi government to:

1. Reopen Al Numan Hospital and provide it with reasonable security so staff and patients can work and receive medical care without violence and intimidation.

2. We ask the ministry of health to launch a transparent investigation into the allegations that it issued or accept the warrant to close the hospital.

3. We call on the Iraqi government to investigate such aggressive and unacceptable breaches of human rights and medical neutrality and to stop similar attacks on medical units which should be protected under international law.

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For more information contact DFI press officer at this e mail press.officer@doctorsforiraq.org or Dr Salam Ismael (Projects Manager) salam.obaidi@doctorsforiraq.org