WMA Council Resolution supporting the Preservation of International Standards of Medical Neutrality

Adopted by the 182nd WMA Council Session, Tel Aviv, Israel, May 2009


Recent international conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, the conflict in Sri Lanka, the conflict in Darfur, and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have led to loss of life and the impairment of living conditions; and International standards of medical neutrality must be upheld throughout such conflicts;


  1. Reaffirms its policy, "Regulations in Time of Armed Conflict" and the obligations of physicians stated in this document. The WMA calls on its members to act in accordance with all internationally accepted principles of healthcare delivery in times of conflict.

  2. Reiterates its commitment to the universal right to health, and access to the highest attainable standard of health care. This universal right is not conditional on peaceful existence, although a peaceful existence accommodates greater ability to provide health to all.

  3. Reaffirms the obligation incumbent on all parties involved in conflict situations to abide by the rules of international medical ethics, a swell as the provisions of international humanitarian law, as expressed in the Geneva Conventions, particularly their common article 3, and, specifically, to assure the provision of medical care and/or evacuation of the trapped and wounded and to refrain from targeting medical personnel and medical facilities.