Friday, September 20, 2013
In Syria, doctors have fled in droves, fearful of adding to the casualties in the country’s bloody civil war. In Pakistan, vaccinators are gunned down by militants. In Bahrain, physicians who treat protesters are thrown in jail. Despite universally recognized international law protecting medical workers in conflict situations, increasingly, the people on the front line of health care are becoming targets. At a side event of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva today, speakers from Turkey, Bahrain, and Pakistan described attacks on healthcare workers for providing care to politically unpopular groups, or because the workers witnessed human rights violations. Other recent attacks have targeted vaccination teams and ambulances.