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Statement by Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, and Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director on attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Syria

2016-04-29

GENEVA/NEW YORK/TORONTO, April 29, 2016 – We join the many voices expressing outrage at the attack on Al Quds Hospital in Aleppo. Among those killed were two doctors, including one of the only remaining pediatricians in the city, three paramedics, and numerous patients, among them children.

We are outraged at the alarming frequency of attacks on health personnel and facilities in Syria. These incidents come amid an escalation of violence in particular in the northern parts of the country.

A few days ago, a mortar killed a gynecologist on his way home after treating wounded civilians at a UNICEF-supported clinic in Aleppo.

These attacks remind us of the enormous difficulties and dangers that Syrian health workers face every day. Those workers deserve more than our admiration. They deserve greater protection. 

Attacks on them and on health facilities and the denial of healthcare services as well as medical equipment and supplies anywhere in Syria, are not only a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Law, but deprive families and communities of essential health care when they need it most. 

UNICEF and WHO urge all parties to the conflict to end all attacks on health facilities, personnel and ambulances and to allow the provision of health services to the many innocent civilians in desperate need. Thousands of lives are at stake.

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UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.