Violence against Health Care Workers: An Urgent Problem Worldwide


On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day (19 August), this joint Op-Ed from ICRC and ECHO looks at the drastic and long-term effects that attacks on health-care staff and facilities have on the untold numbers that are deprived of the care they need. This article was written by Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, and Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response.

World Humanitarian Day is dedicated to those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to work for humanitarian causes. It is also an occasion to draw attention to the fact that health-care personnel are often among the first to be attacked in war and other situations of violence. As a result, untold numbers of people are deprived of the care they need. This is currently one of the most serious and pressing issues of humanitarian concern.

Many of us in Europe may only be aware of violent incidents against people providing or receiving health care on the rare occasions when they make international news headlines. The deadly attack on a hospital in the Pakistani city of Quetta, in June, where survivors of an earlier attack on a bus were being treated, is just one recent example.

The full article continues at on ICRC’s website.