Geneva, Switzerland – The leaders of the world’s physicians
and nursing associations have condemned the continuing violence against
health personnel in Syria and other nations.
In a joint statement issued today, the World Medical Association (WMA) and
the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said that the persistent and
targeted attacks on doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel and other
health workers in Syria have reached unprecedented levels that should alarm
the world. The two organisations confirmed their support of the UN
resolution (2268) which calls for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, and
a respect for ceasefires of sufficient periods for the provision of
humanitarian aid. They stated that, “We in the international health
community have an obligation to speak out to urge world leaders to enforce
an immediate truce to protect the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims
caught up in this carnage.”
Dr. Ardis Hoven, Chair of the WMA, said, “The daily reports of violent
incidents against health-care personnel, medical infrastructure and the
wounded are sickening the world community. The killing of nurses and
doctors has become appalling. The shocking truth is that doctors and nurses
are being specifically targeted in this armed conflict in a way that is
almost beyond belief.”
Dr. Frances Hughes, ICN’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Respect for
health services is one of the core values of international humanitarian law
and the human right to health. The attacks on nurses, doctors and
healthcare facilities in Syria and other nations in conflict must urgently
stop, so they can continue to provide the care needed by their
ICN and WMA have long standing positions condemning attacks on healthcare
workers. Both organisations support the ICRC Health Care in Danger project,
and ICN is also a member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.
Note for Editors
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130
national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.
Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure
quality care for all and sound health policies globally.
The World Medical Association is the independent confederation of national
medical associations from 112 countries and represents more than nine
million physicians. Acting on behalf of patients and physicians, the WMA
endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care,
ethics, education and health-related human rights for all people.