The World Medical Association has condemned in the strongest terms the use of violence, particularly lethal force, against protesters and physicians during recent demonstrations in Sudan.
The peaceful demonstrations have been in protest at the collapse of the public sector, with physicians denouncing the breakdown of the health system and their working conditions.
Physicians have been on strike several times about their inability to perform their duties of saving lives and providing adequate care to their patients.
WMA President Dr. Leonid Eidelman, in a letter to the President of Sudan, said: ‘We deplore the fact that health care providers and facilities constitute the target of attacks from the security force. Rather than opening a constructive dialogue with doctors and other relevant stakeholders based on their claims, such repression violates the right to work of physicians by preventing them from practicing their profession, depriving millions of people of access to health as a result. It threatens further the health system, public services and ultimately the economy of the country’.
He went on: ‘We are appalled to note the violent repression of these demonstrations by the Sudanese security force. Different reliable sources of information relate “deadly onslaught” on protesters, with security forces opening fire on protesters. The death of a physician, a civilian and a child from gunshot wounds inflicted during protests in Khartoum earlier this month were reported’.
The WMA is urging the Sudanese authorities to take immediate charge of the security forces to ensure they stop using violence against protesters, to bring to an end attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and people seeking hospital treatment and to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the use of violence, bringing to justice those in the security forces found to have ill-treated demonstrators or other members of the public.
Finally, Dr. Eidelman called on the authorities to open a dialogue with doctors about their claims, to address the root causes of the economic crisis that has driven the people to the streets.