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Congress Should Pass Legislation To Fully Protect Aid Workers In Conflict Settings

The Hill: Doctors are dying in Syria
Dabney P. Evans, assistant professor of global health and director of the Emory University Center for Humanitarian Emergencies, and Lara S. Martin, programs manager at the Emory University Center for Humanitarian Emergencies

“…The U.S. … has draft legislation — the Medical Neutrality Act — that has provisions protecting health facilities, staff, and supplies, unhindered access to nondiscriminatory medical care, and limitation of government interference in any of these areas. The Medical Neutrality Act perfectly complements the Geneva Convention and fills the gap in the Patriot Act. However, two failed attempts to pass the Medical Neutrality Act of 2011 and Medical Neutrality Protection Act of 2013 show the lack of traction in Congress to address existing shortcomings. Aid workers place themselves in harm’s way in order to fulfill their professional duties. The deliberate targeting of the health sector in conflict settings increases that risk. Legislation needs to be implemented here in the United States in order to project military and civilian Americans working abroad. … The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning attacks on health facilities and health workers; it is time that the United States acts to close loopholes in our own legislation…” (5/6).

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