MSF boycotts UN-backed aid summit, cites ineffectiveness

Doctors Without Borders has withdrawn from the upcoming UN-backed World Humanitarian Summit, citing the meeting’s anticipated failure to make countries engage in humanitarian action.

In a statement published on Thursday, the international medical charity, known by its French acronym as the MSF, said the summit, due in the Turkish city of Istanbul on May 23-24, will not be able to pressure governments that are denying basic help to conflict victims and patients.

“We can no longer see how the meeting will help address the needs caused by violence against patients and medical staff in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan; by civilians intent on fleeing being blocked at borders in Jordan, Turkey and Macedonia; by the inhumane treatment of refugees … desperately trying to find safe haven in Greece and Australia," the statement read.

Last year, 75 hospitals managed or supported by the aid group were bombed.

The Istanbul summit would not tackle “serious gaps” in the response to the Ebola epidemic and the ‘restrictions placed by some states on humanitarian access, denying people basic services,” the statement added.

The MSF is not hopeful that the meeting “will address the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response, particularly in conflict areas or epidemic situations,” the statement further read.

Last October, US fighter jets bombed an MSF hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, leaving 42 people dead.

On April 28, warplanes also targeted the MSF-supported Al-Quds hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least 55 people.

Russia and Syria dismissed accusations that their jets were behind the attack, with Moscow suggesting that the US-led coalition was instead responsible for the incident.

Earlier this week, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning attacks on medical facilities and humanitarian personnel in war zones.

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