WMA Resolution on the Healthcare Situation in Syria


Adopted by the 64th General Assembly, Fortaleza, Brazil, October 2013

Preamble

During wars and armed conflicts, hospitals and other medical facilities have often been attacked and misused and patients and medical personnel have been killed or wounded. Such attacks are a violation of the Geneva Conventions (1949), Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions (1977) and WMA policies, in particular, the WMA Statement on the Protection and Integrity of Medical Personnel in Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence (Montevideo 2011) as well as WMA Regulations in Times of Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence (Bangkok 2012).

The World Medical Association (WMA) has been active in condemning documented attacks on medical personnel and facilities in armed conflicts, including civil wars. The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are designed to protect medical personnel, medical facilities and their patients in international and non-international armed conflicts. The parties on both sides of the conflict have legal and moral duties not to interfere with medical care for wounded or sick combatants and civilians, and to not attack, threaten or impede medical functions. Physicians and other health care personnel must act as and be considered neutral and must not be prevented from fulfilling their duties.

Recommendations

  • The WMA calls upon all parties in the Syrian conflict to ensure the safety of healthcare personnel and their patients, as well as medical facilities and medical transport.
  • The WMA calls upon its members to approach local governments in order to facilitate international cooperation in the United Nations, the European Union or other international body with the aim of ensuring the safe provision of health care to the Syrian people.