The IRCT welcomes a landmark resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly, calling on states to take immediate steps to ensure the protection of health workers across the world.
The first of its kind to recognise the severity of attacks on health professionals, facilities, and patients in all circumstances, the resolution comes at a time when a growing number of doctors, nurses, community health workers and other health providers are exposed to threats, violence and attacks.
Just last week, the office of IRCT member centre in Russia, Committee against Torture (NGO CAT) was destroyed in what appears to be an arson attack. The fire was the latest of a number of vicious attacks against NGO CAT and its leader Igor Kalyapin who had been exposed to several threats and acts of intimidation. Recently, other IRCT members in countries such as Morocco, Mexico and Bolivia have also experienced unprovoked attacks and death threats.
“We are very pleased that the UN General Assembly has passed this resolution to promote the protection of health workers, patients and facilities throughout the world. This is a vital instrument in securing their safety and comes at a critical time when many of our members continue to face attacks, threats and harassment,” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary-General.
The resolution was drafted by the Global Health and Foreign Policy Group, along with several representatives of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, of which the IRCT is a member.
In addition to calling for the protection of health professional, it also calls for states to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, to promote equal access to health services and to develop preventive measures to enhance and promote safety and protection.
“The UN resolution recognises the protection of health care as a human right everywhere and at all times. It also reaffirms the important role that an health-based organisation like the IRCT plays in documenting attacks against health workers and facilities and we believe that all of our members will benefit greatly from this,” said Mr Madrigal-Borloz.