The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution demanding that all parties to conflicts protect medical facilities and staff who are treating the wounded and sick.
The resolution, which comes amid an upsurge in deadly attacks on hospitals in Syria, Afghanistan, and other conflict areas, calls on all countries to bring those responsible for attacks to justice, something that has rarely happened.
Under international law, any intentional attack against hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected already is considered a war crime.
Despite the taboo, last week an important hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo was bombed, killing more than 50 people including the only pediatrician in the city. A maternity hospital and other medical facilities In Aleppo also have been bombed in recent days.
In a high-profile incident last fall, U.S. forces mistakenly fired on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 patients and staff. Incidents have also occured in Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
A recent study found that in the last three years, 2,400 attacks against patients, health personnel, medical facilities, ambulances and other transport took place in 11 countries.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP