Johns Hopkins Human Rights Advocate Urges WHO Action to Protect Healthcare Workers in Humanitarian Crises

In the media

A Johns Hopkins University scholar, lawyer and human rights advocate is making a final push this week for the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) to commit formally to documenting attacks on health care workers in conflict zones.

Leonard Rubenstein, JD, LLM, faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, will be at the World Health Assembly’s 65th session in Geneva, Switzerland May 21-26, representing the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition. The coalition will urge the Assembly to adopt a resolution passed by the Executive Board of WHO in January that would formalize its leadership in documenting attacks on health facilities, workers, transports and patients in conflict areas. The resolution is expected to come up for a vote May 25 or 26.

“International law requires respect for doctors' and nurses' ethical duty to provide care impartially to all who are in need,” says Rubenstein, also a Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins’ Center for Public Health and Human Rights. “Collecting data about the frequency and type of attacks on health care workers and facilities is an essential first step toward holding the perpetrators accountable,” Rubenstein says.

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Cross-posted from the Berman Institute of Bioethics.