For immediate release on 14 March 2016
A joint statement by
Duayjai Group, Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and Patani Human Rights Organization
Armed violence in the Cho-airong Hospital, Narathiwat: All parties urged to protect public health system
In pursuance to the violence in the Cho-airong Hospital on 13 March 2016, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Public Health, Dr Sophon Mekthon said that the siege by the insurgents did not last so long and none of the health personnel was harmed, though damages have been inflicted on property including computers, desks, doors, etc. All medical personnel, nurses and doctors, are fine as well as the patients. High ranking officers will be dispatched there to inspect the situation and will report more information to the Ministry later.
According to security agencies, the incidence in the Cho-airong Hospital was related to the attack on the Military Ranger Company base TP 4816, the 48th Ranger Regiment, Tambon Chuab, Cho-airong District, Narathiwat, which is located just in front of the hospital. The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Public Health extended his appreciation to all military personnel who have carefully performed their duties without using excessive force and have been able to suppress the incidence without causing any fallouts on medical personnel, the patients and their relatives and other people and their property.
It is unacceptable that the acts of the insurgents have caused damages to the medical equipment and other facilities since it will render direct impact on the lives of the patients and the injured persons and may deprive them of the life-saving services.
“Any armed operation aiming to kill the medical personnel, the patients and the injured persons, as well as to damage the medical facilities and equipment as well as ambulances is a breach to international humanitarian law and is thoroughly unacceptable. The state and non-state armed groups and all other parties are urged to help protect and ensure that the operation of the medical personnel be minimally affected. Any act intended to obstruct or impede the performance of duties among the medical personnel is grossly condemned” said Anchana Heemmina, Leader of the Duayjai Group.
Even though the Southern Border Provinces have not been accepted as internal armed conflict or non-international armed conflict, and thus it has been invoked as a reason to not act in compliance with international humanitarian law, but since the law provides for protection of the public, therefore, both parties, the state and non-state armed forces, should commit themselves to upholding the law and accepting its implications.
The human rights organizations based in the local area and working to protect human rights and legal protection in the Southern Border Provinces have the following demands;
- All forces, the state and non-state armed groups, must act in strict compliance with international humanitarian law for the benefit of local people.
- The state and armed groups must review their military tactics and strategies considering the safety of public, and particularly attention should be given to maintaining the public health system.
- Whichever armed groups must refrain from attacking medical and public health facilities or refrain from laying siege and using the facilities as a base for their armed operation or to act in anyway which would impede or obstruct the performance of duties of medical and public personnel. This should include the attack of educational institutions, religious sites and prayer sites, and other public facilities.
- All concerned parties must make the effort to investigate the incidence and to bring to justice the perpetrators involved with the infringement of international humanitarian law.
Contact: Anchana Heemmina, Duay Jai Group, phone 081-8098609
Isama-ae Tae, Patani Human Rights Organization, phone 085-2527824
Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, phone 086-7093000