WMA Urges End to Healthcare Attacks in Turkey

The World Medical Association has called for an end to recent attacks on healthcare personnel, patients, and health care facilities in Turkey.

At its annual Assembly in Moscow, the WMA supported an emergency resolution deploring recent attacks in which healthcare personnel have been killed, wounded or threatened with guns. Delegates from more than 50 national medical associations heard that a physician, a nurse and an ambulance driver had been killed within the last two months.

Dr. Bayazit Ilhan from the Turkish Medical Association told the meeting that the wounded were being impeded from getting to hospital and preventable deaths were occurring because of the absence of health care.

‘There are indications that these attacks are being used as a deliberate political instrument to intimidate people, depriving them of their democratic rights. Parties in armed conflict have the obligation to protect health care provision to the wounded and sick and to prevent attacks such as these.’

WMA President Sir Michael Marmot said: ‘Physicians and other healthcare personnel should not be prevented from performing their duties. Such attacks constitute a blatant violation of international human rights law and undermine fundamental medical ethics principles.

‘We call for all parties involved to respect the professional autonomy and impartiality of healthcare staff, and to comply fully with international human rights law and other relevant international regulations. We also want to see all violations documented and the perpetrators prosecuted.’