A Ukrainian refugee takes care of a child in Przemysl, Poland, March 2022. © Adrienne Surprenant /MYOP
Ukraine war: “Bombs on a maternity and children’s hospital are utterly unacceptable”
CARE strongly calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians as war enters its third week
10 MARCH 2022 – As the war in Ukraine enters its third week this Thursday, the humanitarian organization CARE is deeply worried about the protection of civilians caught in the crosslines.
“Over the past two weeks, there have been numerous reports of impacts on civilian infrastructure, most recently even on a maternity and pediatric hospital,” says CARE’s humanitarian advocacy coordinator Delphine Pinault. “Bombs on hospitals that house expecting mothers, new-born babies and children at their most vulnerable, are an unacceptable breach of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.”
Since the beginning of the war, the World Health Organization has confirmed at least 18 incidences of severe impacts on medical facilities in Ukraine, with fatal consequences in some instances and devastating damages to the infrastructure and equipment. CARE strongly calls on conflict parties to minimize the effects of the war on civilians by respecting the principles of humanity, necessity, proportionality and distinction, the corner stones of IHL.
“Civilians, and especially women, pregnant women and those with new-born and small children bear the brunt of this horrifying escalation of violence,” notes Pinault. “We know from other conflicts such as Syria and Yemen that the specific needs of women, girls, and children are far too often unmet in war times: pre- and postnatal care, safe delivery facilities, protection from abuse, exploitation, and violence as well as safe shelters and adequate nutrition should be a priority for this humanitarian response.”
Ukraine also has a large population of elderly and disabled women who face even greater risks.
“Civilians always pay the highest price. This escalating violence—which is resulting in civilian deaths, including children—is totally unacceptable. The protection of civilians, including their safe passage to voluntarily leave Ukraine in whatever direction they choose must be priority number one,” says CARE’s Delphine Pinault.
The road to safety is particularly dangerous for women travelling alone with their children, as men have to stay behind. 25-year-old Eugenie made the trip of 28 hours to reach neighbouring Romania with her 11-month-old baby Mikhael and 5-year-old Sofia. “It was very scary on the road. We saw 8 missiles coming overhead at one point. My husband drove us to the border, to safety, and then he turned around and went back. I am so scared for him.”
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About CARE Canada:
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization working around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. CARE puts women and girls at the centre of our work because we know we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls to lift themselves, their families, and communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE works in over 100 countries around the world.
To learn more about CARE Canada, visit www.care.ca.