U.N. Security Council Should Consider Actively Protecting Health Care Workers Responding To DRC Ebola Outbreak

The Conversation: Worsening Ebola crisis leaves U.N. Security Council with few options
Mark Eccleston-Turner, lecturer at Keele University’s Law School

“…The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) … acknowledged the situation in the DRC by issuing a resolution (resolution 2439) that calls for an end to the violence so that humanitarian groups can have better access to the region [to respond to the Ebola outbreak]. … It condemns the killing of health care workers, calls for peace on both sides (which has been ignored), and calls on the World Health Organization (WHO) to continue its leadership on Ebola, but does not say much else. With the violence continuing, the number of cases and deaths from Ebola rising, and the withdrawal of international health experts, it is likely that the UNSC will need to return to this issue — this time with a more robust response. But what form might this response take? One option is for the UNSC to do nothing. … Another option is for the UNSC to draft another resolution … A more likely option appears to be expanding the role of the MONUSCO peacekeepers to take a more active role in protecting health care workers in the DRC so that health care workers can safely carry out their work. … Creating a safety zone around the Ebola outbreaks could allow health care professionals to carry out their work in safety and may inspire international assistance to flow into the area where it is so badly needed. While mission creep within peacekeeping operations is rightly subject to considerable criticism, if the situation in the DRC worsens, it may be the only option” (12/12).