UN proposal demands combatants protect hospitals and doctors

A proposed U.N. resolution that supporters hope will be adopted next week demands that all parties to conflicts protect medical personnel, hospitals and medical facilities against violence and attacks — and face justice if they don't.

The draft resolution circulated Friday expresses deep concern that the number of attacks is increasing despite obligations under international law that combatants protect medical staff and facilities as well as the sick and wounded.

New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, a co-author of the resolution, said Wednesday's bombing of an important hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo that killed more than 50 people including patients and staff "sadly demonstrates why the resolution is so timely."

"We need to shine a light and make clear the international community's utter rejection of such practices," he said.