Deliberate, calculated attacks on healthcare facilities have become a routine weapon of war.
These assaults kill both patients and health workers, and they devastate already vulnerable health systems. Not to mention they violate the Geneva Conventions.
In 2017, there were at least 701 attacks on hospitals, health workers, patients, and ambulances in 23 countries in conflict around the world. More than 101 health workers and 293 patients and others are reported to have died as a result of these attacks. The 2017 report, compiled by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, only includes events that occurred in the context of armed conflicts or situations of severe political volatility.
The countries with the most reported acts of violence on health infrastructure and against health workers and patients are:
- Afghanistan (66)
- CAR (52)
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (20)
- Iraq (35)
- Nigeria (23)
- occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) (93)
- Pakistan (18)
- South Sudan (37)
- Syria (252)
- Yemen (24)
Sadly there is little to no accountability for those who commit these crimes. Thus the UN Secretary-General has laid out a set of recommendations that warrant action by member states, UN agencies, and the Security Council to provide effective and prompt reparations, strengthen laws and national mechanisms for independent investigations of violations as well as enhance the role of UN peace operations.
The coalition is working on its 2018 report, which will detail attacks in more countries than it’s ever had to cover before. So, with all this in mind, this month’s question has been:
"Due to the increased intensity of attacks on healthcare facilities, would you be deterred from volunteering with humanitarian organizations?"
You can find in the infographic below what the M3 Global Research community answered to this question.