Protecting Patients & Their Doctors
© AFP PHOTO / Karim Sahib - Iraq. A doctor surveys the rubble left in the Adnan Khairallah Hospital in Baghdad after it was hit by a missile
The WMA was created to promote the highest possible standards of medical ethics, medical education and human rights. In recent years there has been a worrying trend of physicians being tortured or victimized by dictatorial regimes or terrorist groups. During wars and armed conflicts, hospitals and other medical facilities are often attacked and misused. Patients and medical personnel are killed or wounded. Such attacks are a violation of the Geneva Conventions (1949) and their additional Protocols forming the core of the international humanitarian law.
WHO Role in Humanitarian Emergencies
In May 2012, the World Health Assembly adopted the resolution "WHO's response, and role as the health cluster lead, in meeting the growing demands of health in humanitarian emergencies" whereby Member States call on WHO Director General: "(8) to provide leadership at the global level in developing methods for systematic collection and dissemination of data on attacks on health facilities, health workers, health transports, and patients in complex humanitarian emergencies, in coordination with other relevant United Nations bodies, other relevant actors, and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, avoiding duplication of efforts".The WMA made a statement on behalf of the WHPA as well other international supportive NGOs in support of the resolution.
WMA Current Policy & Action:
The WMA has been active in condemning documented attacks on medical personnel and facilities in armed conflicts and other situations of violence. Physicians and other health care personnel must be considered as neutral and must not be prevented from fulfilling their duties.
The WMA works with other health, humanitarian and human rights organizations, as appropriate, creating alliances to combine strengths and advocate for the highest possible standards of health for all people. The WMA is a partner of the health Care in Danger Project (HCiD) led by the ICRC.
The WMA has also an observer status in the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.
Recent Press releases & actions:
- Imprisonment of Two Young Doctors Condemned by WMA, October 2015
- Turkish Government Urged to Restore Basic Health Care to Cities in Conflict, September 2015
- Growing Violence Against Doctors Alarms Medical Profession, April 2015
- World physicians acknowledge tragic loss of doctor in fatal hospital shooting, January 2015
- Growing support for shared ethical principles from healthcare and medicines providers, January 2015
- WMA welcomes strongest statement yet on violence against health, December 2014
- WMA calls for the release of imprisoned health professionals in Bahrain, November 2014
- WMA repeats its Demand for Charges Against Turkish Physicians to be dropped, November 2014
- Letter to the attention of the Prime Minister of Iraq regarding the health conditions of Camp Liberty 's residents, November 2014
- Leading Medical Groups Ask for Dismissal of Charges against Turkish Medical Association, September 2014
- WMA and other health professionals public statement in relation with the implementation of "WHO’s response, and role as the health cluster lead, in meeting the growing demands of health in humanitarian emergencies", January 2014
- WMA welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health presented to the UN General Assembly on October 24, 2013 and dedicated to the right to health obligations of States and non-State actors towards persons affected by and/or involved in conflict situations
- Joint press release with the UN Special Rappoprteur on the right to Health Turkey: international experts warn against criminalizing independent medical care in emergencies, December 2013
- WMA Secretary General's speech at the Annual Assembly of the Turkish Medical Association, 29 June 2013
- Letter to the Turkish authorities calling for the full respect of medical neutrality, 11 June 2013
- Letter urging the Turkish authorities to end excessive force against protestors, 4 June 2013
- Letter to Dr Margaret Chan regarding Health Care in Syria, May 2013
- Bahrain Court Decision Condemned by WMA, October 2012
- WMA urges Bharaini Authorities to Overturn Prison Sentences, Setpember 2012
- Health Professionals renew Ceasefire Plea to Syrian Leader, May 2012
- Global Health Leaders Urge Release of Bahraini Health Professionals, May 2012
- WMA Appalled by Beheading of Red Cross Worker, April 2012
- Syrian and Bahrain Governments urged to Protect Health Care, April 2012
- World Medical Association Condemns Reports of Ill Treatment by Physicians in Syria, March 2012
- Resolution on the Bombing of the Hospital of Médecins Sans Frontières in Kunduz, October 2015
- Resolution to stop attacks against Healthcare Workers and Facilities in Turkey, October 2015
- Ethical Principles of Health Care in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Emergencies, October 2014
- WMA Declaration on the Protection of Health Care Workers in Situation of Violence, October 2014
- WMA Resolution on Healthcare situation in Syria, October 2013
- Revised WMA Regulations in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence, October 2012
- WMA Resolution in Support of Professor Cyril Karabus, October 2012
- WMA Statement on the Protection and Integrity of Medical Personnel in Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence, October 2011
- WMA Council Resolution supporting the Preservation of International Standards of Medical Neutrality, May 2009
- WMA International Code of Medical Ethics, October 2006
- WMA Declaration of Geneva, May 2006 (last revision)
For more information on the current actions undertaken by the WMA in support of physicians in distress, please contact Clarisse Delorme at WMA secretariat.