News

ICRC and World Medical Association to Work Together for Safer Health Care Delivery

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Geneva (WMA / ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Medical Association (WMA) signed a memorandum of understanding in Geneva today, in which the two organizations agree to join forces in a worldwide effort to combat violence against patients and health-care workers.

WHO Director-General Condemns Attacks on Health Workers and Facilities in Conflict Situations

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
In her address to the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 20, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan spoke about the “deeply troubled times” we live in and referenced “assaults on health personnel and health care facilities in conflict situations,” which the World Health Organization condemns “in the strongest possible terms.”

United Nations Condemns Attacks on Health Workers, Facilities, and Vehicles in Syria

Friday, May 17, 2013
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, condemning human rights violations by Syria. The resolution makes note of attacks on hospitals and stating that the UN “Strongly condemns all attacks and threats of violence against humanitarian and medical personnel and against medical facilities and vehicles, in violation of international law, and the use of medical civilian facilities, including hospitals, for armed purposes, and calls for all medical facilities to be free of weapons, including heavy weapons, consistent with applicable international law.”

Coalition Urges World Health Organization Director-General to Raise Awareness of Attacks on Health Workers

Thursday, May 16, 2013
On May 15 the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition sent a letter to World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan urging her to include in her World Health Assembly opening address a forceful statement condemning attacks on doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel, and other health workers, particularly in Syria, which are taking place at an unprecedented level. The letter, which also has the support of the World Medical Association, called attention to a new study by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Violent Incidents Affecting Health Care, which reported that at least 921 violent incidents against health care personnel, infrastructure, and wounded or sick people took place in 2012.

Experts Discuss Attacks on Syria's Health Workers and Facilities

Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted a roundtable discussion on Attacks on Syria’s Medical Personnel and Facilities on May 10. Leonard Rubenstein, chair of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition, was one of the speakers, along with Zaher Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society (a member of Safeguarding Health in Conflict), Stephen Cornish of Médecins Sans Frontières, and Dorothy Shea of the US Department of State.

Medical Work in Conflict Zones Is Compromised

Friday, April 26, 2013
On April 24 Foreign Affairs published an article by Leonard S. Rubenstein, “Unhealthy Practice: Medical Work in Conflict Zones Is Compromised.” For the second time in less than six months, Rubenstein writes, polio vaccine workers in Pakistan have come under fire. For the gunmen, killing health workers has been seen as a legitimate response to a nefarious extension of Western power. For the CIA, faux vaccine campaigns have sometimes been justified as part of the war on terror. Both sides are wrong, he says: denying or providing health care should never be an instrument of statecraft.

Report Describes Coup's Effects on Health in Central African Republic

Thursday, April 25, 2013
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published an update on the security situation in the Central African Republic and its effects on health and other sectors. Since the March 24 coup the security situation continues to deteriorate, particularly in Bangui, and is impeding humanitarian operations. Since April13, altercations between Seleka members and the civilian population have resulted in deaths and severe injuries.

Protecting Doctors in Syria

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The New York Times published a letter from Leonard Rubenstein in response to the March 24 article, “In Syria’s Civil War, Doctors Find Themselves in Cross Hairs.” “Syria’s arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder of doctors and nurses for providing medical care to its enemies warrants not only condemnation but also referral to the United Nations Security Council for prosecution for war crimes,” Rubenstein wrote.

Human Rights Council Urges Protection of Children's Health during Armed Conflict

Monday, April 1, 2013
At the twenty-second session of the Human Rights Council in March, the council passed a resolution on children and the right to health (Rights of the child: the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health). In a section on “Health issues relating to children requiring special attention,” the council included language on children affected by armed conflicts. Paragraphs 25 and 27 are of particular interest to the work of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition:

Report Describes Ongoing Challenges in Mali's Health System Due to Conflict

Friday, March 22, 2013
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published a new report on the complex emergency situation in Mali. The report highlights some of the current challenges the health system is still facing in the wake of armed conflict in the North, along with updates from other sectors. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continues to grow, with 3,500 newly displaced people adding to their ranks over the last several weeks around Talhandak, in the Kidal region.

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