Intended for healthcare professionals


Gaddafi’s forces attacked hospitals, patients, and health professionals, report confirms

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 31 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5533
  1. Sophie Arie
  1. 1London

Forces of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime attacked hospitals, ambulances, patients, and doctors in Libya over the past six months, concludes a report from Physicians for Human Rights.

The report details widespread violations of international conventions on war and human rights—including failure to respect medical neutrality and the right to medical care—during the two month siege by Libyan forces of the port city of Misrata.

It identifies a pattern, which the media have also reported elsewhere in Libya, in which hospitals became strategic targets as pro-Gaddafi forces battled rebels for control of different cities. They bombed medical facilities and then placed snipers on their roofs; civilians were denied treatment; patients and doctors were abducted; other doctors were forced to work round the clock to treat only soldiers loyal to Gaddafi; and ambulances were attacked and medical equipment and drugs removed.

The report says that the main hospital in Misrata was under …

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