“Every situation is different, but in our decades of experience working in situations of war we know that one-off humanitarian corridors can be helpful but are not enough,” said Stephen Cornish, general director of MSF. “Several times we have witnessed civilians encouraged to leave through time-bound civilian evacuation corridors, and then those who could not or would not flee were met with extraordinary and indiscriminate violence unleashed on everyone and everything left behind. As a result, many people were killed or maimed, including many medics and other civilians.”
MSF calls for the rules of war to be observed by all the military fighting in this war in Ukraine, to take all precautions to avoid harming civilians, and to consider civilians as civilians at all times and in all places in Ukraine. Safe passage for those willing and able to escape should be urgently assured in Mariupol and across war affected areas inside Ukraine, regardless of the existence of humanitarian corridors or ceasefires that may temporarily be put in be in place. For those that stay behind, they cannot lose their civilian status: The warring parties must do all in their power to prevent harm to civilians at all times, in all places.