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Letter to President Obama on the Kunduz Hospital Attack

April 2016

April 25, 2016

PHR responded to Brian P. McKeon’s letter and called for the disciplinary process to include consideration of criminal liability up the chain of command; that an analysis of compliance with international humanitarian law and the U.S. Military Code of Justice assessing criminal liability be made public; and that the victims and their families be provided full and effective reparation including guarantees of non-repetition as well as a full opportunity to present their claims for compensation beyond the narrow claims they have been directed to. Read the full letter here.


March 7, 2016

The U.S. Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Brian P. McKeon, responded to PHR’s letter. Read the full response here.


January 16, 2016

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing grave concern about the increased frequency of attacks on hospitals and medical personnel across the globe, including the devastating October airstrikes by the U.S. military on a Médécins sans Frontiérés (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. PHR urged the president to ensure that the U.S. government thoroughly address what happened in accordance with its obligations under domestic and international law, and to take action on the following recommendations:

      (1) To ensure that the initial report produced by the Department of Defense as a result of its probe into the Kunduz hospital bombing be made available to the public promptly and to ensure that the recommendations resulting from the DoD’s full investigation are forthcoming and transparent, contain active pursuit of criminal liability – including at the command level – and are communicated to the public in a timely manner;
      (2) To publicly assert the United States’ commitment to universally-recognized principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which afford hospitals and medical personnel heightened protections during armed conflict and respect the obligation of medical personnel to treat the sick and wounded without interference, regardless of their identity or affiliation; and
      (3) To convene a Court of Inquiry, utilizing your general court-martial convening authority under Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) art. 135(a), 10 U.S.C. § 935(a) and UCMJ art. 22(a)(1), 10 U.S.C. § 822(a)(1), charged with examining and inquiring into the incident and directed to offer findings, opinions and recommendations including coverage of punitive and corrective phases of the matter under investigation.

Read the full letter here.

PHR Library