International Community Must Enforce Medical Neutrality In Conflict Situations
New England Journal of Medicine: Attacks on Health Care in Syria — Normalizing Violations of Medical Neutrality?
Michele Heisler, Elise Baker, and Donna McKay, all affiliated with Physicians for Human Rights
“…When health care systems come under assault, the losses are far greater than the toll of health workers killed and hospital bricks and mortar demolished. … The longer the international community fails to enforce humanitarian law, the greater the chance that these violations will become the ‘new normal’ in armed conflicts around the world, eroding the long-standing norm of medical neutrality. Left unchecked, attacks on medical care will become a standard weapon of war. … As the global body with the most power to stop these attacks in the short term, the U.N. Security Council should enforce its resolution to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. Effective protection of medical neutrality would save lives and is a necessary prerequisite to any effective peace process…” (11/18).