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New Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition shows global pattern of impunity, calls for international accountability for strikes on health care workers and facilities.

Washington, May 23, 2016 – In conflict zones around the world, health care workers and facilities are under relentless attack, according to a new report “No Protection, No Respect” from the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.

The coalition of more than 30 nongovernmental organizations found that during 2015 and the first three months of 2016, deliberate or indiscriminate strikes on health care have killed medical workers and patients, decimated medical infrastructure and robbed countless civilians of vital medical care in 19 countries around the world. The report also found that, in many instances, parties to conflicts failed to take required steps to avoid harm to medical facilities, staff and patients, and obstructed access to health care.

“The report shows both the pervasiveness and variety of attacks on health facilities, staff and patients globally,” said Leonard Rubenstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the coalition’s chair. “Sometimes the attacks are deliberate, sometimes they’re a product of indifference to the harms caused and sometimes they represent gross failures to take steps needed to prevent death and injury—but all violate long-standing obligations under international law.”

In its third annual report, the coalition found evidence that hospitals and ambulances were specifically targeted in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Mali, South Sudan, Syria and Thailand, and reports on the murder and kidnapping of polio vaccination teams in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia. Overall, the report shows an alarming frequency and variety of attacks—which deprive countless people of critical medical care.

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Safeguarding Health In Conflict Coalition

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