News

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.

Articles in New England Journal of Medicine Focus on Need to Safeguard Health in Conflict

Friday, March 22, 2013
Two Perspective articles in the March 21 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine focus on the need to safeguard health in conflict situations. In Security of Health Care and Global Health, Robin Coupland shares her views on threats to health care during conflicts. These threats are “not just an issue for humanitarian aid agencies,” she argues.

Health System Severely Disrupted by Syrian Crisis

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
As the Syrian crisis passes the two-year mark, refugees number over one million, 70,000 people have died and 350,000 have been injured, and the health system is severely disrupted. On March 15 the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean issued a situation report describing the effects of the crisis on health in the region.

New UN Report on Human Rights Violations in Syria Cites Targeting of Health Workers and Hospitals

Monday, February 18, 2013
A UN commission of inquiry on Syria issued a report on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the country. Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic includes language relating to health workers and facilities.

18 NGOs Write Joint Letter to World Health Organization's Margaret Chan Regarding Attacks on Health Workers in Pakistan

Friday, January 25, 2013
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition organized a group of 18 nongovernmental organizations from around the world to cosign a letter to World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan last week expressing alarm at the recent spate of attacks on health workers in Pakistan. The group praised the WHO’s dedication to documenting and reporting such attacks as specified by a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly in May 2012, and offered its support in implementing that resolution.

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