International Review - Violence against health care (II): The way forward

Following on from last week’s high-level panel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, we're highlighting a few articles from the latest edition of the International Review, which address key issues linked to violance against health care in armed conflicts and emergencies.  

Established in 1869, the International Review of the Red Cross is a quarterly journal published by the ICRC and Cambridge University Press. It's a forum for debate on international humanitarian law and humanitarian action and policy, during armed conflict and other situations of violence. Its content is geared towards governments, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, universities, the media, and all those interested in humanitarian issues at large.

The subject of this latest issue is the extraordinary risks that patients and health care personnel face in hot spots around the world. It focuses on the legal, operational, or policy measures that can be taken to improve access to medical care in volatile contexts.  (Part I focused on patterns of attacks against health care, based on results from health-related data collection and field studies.) 

Reflections on Colombian case law on the protection of medical personnel against punishment

Ekaterina Ortiz Linares and Marisela Silva Chau

One of the fundamental rules for the protection of health care personnel in any circumstance, including contexts of armed conflicts, provides for a prohibition on punishing medical professionals who merely act in accordance with medical ethics.

Attacks on medical missions: overview of a polymorphous reality: the case of Médecins Sans Frontières

Dr Caroline Abu Sa’Da, Dr Francçoise Duroch and Dr Bertrand Taithe

The aim of this article is to carry out a preliminary analysis of issues relating to the types of violence that are directed against humanitarian medical missions. Starting from the observation that violence can cause some degree of disruption for a medical organisation such as Médecins Sans Frontières, despite its wide experience which has brought it much wisdom and generated numerous and sporadic responses to such events, the article offers a more subtle analysis of terms and of situations of violence so as to contribute to the establishment of a research project and, in a second phase, to an awareness-raising campaign focusing on these complex phenomena.

A way forward in protecting health services in conflict: moving beyond the humanitarian paradigm

Leonard S. Rubenstein

Attacks on health workers, clinics, hospitals, ambulances and patients during periods of armed conflict or civil disturbance pose enormous challenges to humanitarian response and constitute affronts to the imperatives of human rights and civilian protection.

If you would like to read more articles from this issue, you can find the full text here.