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Driven by a deplorable trend of unlawful attacks on health-care facilities and workers in armed conflicts throughout the world, on May 3, 2016, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2286 calling for an end to such attacks. The Secretary-General followed with recommendations of concrete measures for implementation. However, unlawful attacks on health care have continued or intensified in many conflicts, notably in Syria. We, academic institutions, civil society, and co-sponsoring Member States, convened a side event during the 72nd UN General Assembly to focus global attention on this issue and the imperative that Resolution 2286 be implemented.
The WHO's commitment to collecting and analyzing data on attacks against health care is a sign of great progress toward holding the perpetrators of the violence accountable. But it is important that this momentum is continued to turn that action into change. In this article Rubenstein discusses the global actions that were taken leading up to the WHO commitment, what are some continuing barriers to accountability, and what are the next steps forward.
Physicians for Human Rights, a member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, and other nongovernmental organizations urge the US and UK to prevent a catastrophic worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and avoid the serious risk that continued conflict in Yemen will lead to regional destabilization and increased threats to international peace and security.
In reaction to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, a coalition member, and National Association of Medical Students in Yemen released an appeal to advocate for immediate access to medical and humanitarian aid for people in need and urge involved parties to immediately take concrete steps to improve the situation.
Today the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition supported a declaration by France and eleven other UN member states to take concrete steps toward implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2286 and protect health care in conflict.
Cut off from imports, and under ceaseless Saudi bombardment, Yemen is now one of the worst humanitarian crises of modern times. Seven million Yemenis live in areas that are close to famine, two million children are suffering from acute malnutrition, and an outbreak of cholera has infected over 600,000 people.