SLA steps up attacks on hospitals in Vanni, disregards Geneva Conventions
[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 December 2008, 18:37 GMT]
Mullaiththeevu Government Hospital has come under artillery fire by the Sri Lanka Army despite the Sri Lankan military and civil authorities being repeatedly urged by the medical authorities at the hospital not to fire shells on the civilian medical facility. The government hospital was attacked Monday, Friday and Saturday. Two patients sustained injuries last Monday and two medical staff were wounded in the artillery attack on Friday. The building sustained damage in the bombardment Friday when 5 shells hit the premises. The quarters of the Medical Superintend has also sustained damage for the second time.
The medical staff wounded in the SLA shelling on Friday were S. Pradeep and Vethavanam, according to the medical authorities at the hospital. The attack occurred around 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Shells exploded inside the hospital premises also on Saturday.
Three months ago, on 08 August 2008, the hospital premises came under artillery barrage by the SLA. An 18-month-old baby was killed and 16 civilians, including the Government Agent of Mullaiththeevu, Imelda Sukumar, were injured when the SLA fired shells targeting the same location which housed the residences of the GA, the Medical Superintendent (MS) and many other government officials. TamilNet had published GA's eyewitness account the following day.
In the wake of foreign aid workers of the International NGOs, the only remaining external witnesses ordered to leave Vanni, the SLA has ignored the repeated requests to safeguard hospitals.
Ki'linochchi hospital premises has also come under artillery fire on several occasions.
Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that the civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a signatory to the First, Second and Third Geneva Conventions and it ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, by accession to it, on 23.02.1959.
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