Adopted by the 217th WMA Council Session, Seoul (online), April 2021
and by the 72nd WMA General Assembly (online), London, United Kingdom, October 2021
The World Medical Association notes with increasing alarm, the continuing actions of the current police and Myanmar security forces including arbitrary arrests and detention of health personnel and other citizens, attacks against physicians and other health personnel and facilities, and continuing harassment and intimidation of protesters, human rights defenders and journalists. The WMA and its members are seriously disturbed by their terrorizing, arresting, kidnapping and murdering health care workers for treating protesters.
With a collapsed health system, the Covid pandemic is devastating Myanmar with lack of medical equipment and personnel and increasing deaths. Recent reports of forcing hundreds of physicians to secretly treat Covid patients and ambushing and arresting physicians after luring them to a non-existent Covid patient’s home, are cause for further dismay.
These activities are in total opposition to the international recommendations in the WMA Declaration on the Protection of Health Care Workers in situation of Violence, the WMA Statement on the Protection and Integrity of Medical Personnel in Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence as well as the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Thus, the WMA and its members demand that the Myanmar security forces take immediate action to:
- Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of protesters, including health personnel who are arrested;
- Release protesters and personnel immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against them since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at preventing freedom of expression and their human rights activities;
- Put an urgent end to attacks against health personnel and facilities and ensure their protection to provide adequate health care provisions to all.
- Stop all acts of harassment, intimidation, and killing, against protesters, human rights defenders and journalists and comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;
- Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
- Cooperate with international fact-finding commissions.