WMA Resolution on Academic Sanctions or Boycotts

Adopted by the 40th World Medical Assembly, Vienna, Austria, September 1988
and editorially revised by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005
and reaffirmed by the 200th WMA Council Session, Oslo, Norway, April 2015 


WHEREAS academic sanctions or boycotts are discriminatory restrictions on academic, professional and scientific freedoms that deny or exclude physicians and others from educational, cultural and scientific meetings and other opportunities for the exchange of information and knowledge, the purpose of such restrictions being to protest the social and political policies of governments, and
WHEREAS such restrictions are in direct conflict with the major objectives of the WMA, viz., to achieve the highest international standards in medical education, medical science, medical art and medical ethics, and
WHEREAS such restrictions adversely affect health care, particularly of the disadvantaged, and therefore thwart the WMA's objective of obtaining the best possible health care for all people of the world, and
WHEREAS such restrictions discriminate against physicians and patients on grounds of political persuasion or of political decisions taken by governments and are therefore in conflict with the WMA's Declaration of Geneva, Statement on Non-Discrimination in Professional Membership and Activities of Physicians and Statement on Freedom to Attend Medical Meetings, and
WHEREAS a basic rule of medical practice is "primum non nocere", i.e. first, do no harm,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the WMA regards the application of such restrictions as arbitrary political decisions designed to deny international scholarly exchange and to blacklist particular physicians or bodies of physicians because of their nationality or because of the political policies of their governments. The WMA is unalterably opposed to such restrictions and calls on all National Medical Associations to resist the imposition of such restrictions by every means at their disposal and to heed the WMA's Statement on Non-Discrimination in Professional Membership and Activities of Physicians and the WMA Statement on Freedom to Attend Medical Meetings.