Attacks on Health

New Report Documents Sudanese Government's Attacks on Civilians; Access to Health Care Prevented

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
“The situation [in our village] was very bad,” said Saudia Idris, a refugee from Blue Nile State. “There was no relief. The planes were constantly bombing us and the militia were attacking us. It was no way to live,” she told Human Rights Watch. “Disease began to spread, but we couldn’t get any medication because the militia were always attacking.” The Sudanese government’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment and shelling in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states has killed and injured scores of civilians since the conflict began more than a year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report, Under Siege.

Documenting Bahrain's Attacks on Health

Friday, November 23, 2012
In Bahrain, health workers have been drawn into the conflict that began in February 2011 when protesters called for reform and the government responded with violence. By treating wounded civilians, frontline health workers witnessed the effects of the government crackdown—and quickly became targets themselves. One health worker recently told news outlet RT of her experience. “As a punishment for not obeying the authorities to abandon these patients, all the doctors who were involved in treating these patients, they were arrested. Myself personally, I was abducted from my house at 3 am in the morning, and I was badly mistreated… I was tortured. Later on, after being jailed for almost two months, I was prosecuted, tried in a military court and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment,” said Dr. Nada Dhaif.

Documents Emphasize Data Collection on Violence against Health

Monday, November 5, 2012
The World Medical Association revised its Regulations in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence, endorsing collection of data and including a code of conduct for physicians in conflicts. In May 2012 at the World Health Assembly, member states of the World Health Organization passed a resolution requiring the WHO to lead international data collection of attacks on health workers, facilities, transports, and patients.

Preventing Violence against Health: Data Collection Is Key

Friday, November 2, 2012
In his New York Times blog, Nicholas Kristof wrote about the horrific attack on Dr. Denis Mukwege, a doctor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who advocates for women’s health and does fistula repair. “Dr. Mukwege presumably was targeted because of a strong speech he gave at the United Nations last month denouncing mass rape in Congo and the impunity for it,” Kristof noted. This important blog depicts a sad incident in a much larger problem, which is widespread violence against health workers and health facilities under conditions of armed conflict.

World Health Assembly Passes Resolution

Friday, June 8, 2012
Leonard S. Rubenstein of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health took part in the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva last month. Upon his return, he told the magazine of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about the new resolution requiring the World Health Organization to lead international data collection of attacks on health workers, facilities, transports and patients.

Fighting for Docs in War Zones

Friday, May 18, 2012
When ambulance drivers in Gaza told Leonard Rubenstein about being delayed at checkpoints and blocked from hospitals, and when doctors in Kosovo described arrests and torture for providing care for rebels, they echoed the stories of multitudes in Mexico, Libya, Burma and beyond. "Health workers are trying to do their jobs, consistent with their ethical responsibilities, and are vulnerable because of it," says Rubenstein, JD, LLM, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights and associate faculty of the Berman Institute of Bioethics.

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