ICRC News and Notes August 2011

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  • 8/6/2019 ICRC News and Notes August 2011


    International Committee of the Red CrossRegional Delegation for the United States and Canada

    In This Issue:

    Video Overview:Health-care WorkersMust Not Be Atacked

    Millions Affected byViolence AgainstHealth-Care Personneland Facilities

    A Sixteen CountryStudy

    Health Care in Danger:In the News

    ICRC News from

    Around the Globe

    AfghanistanColombiaCote d'IvoireDemocratic Republic of theCongoHaitiGeorgia/South OssetiaLibyaPakistanPhilippines



    News and NotesAugust 2011

    Today, on the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Conventionsof August 12, 1949, we highlight one of the most pressing humanitarianissues of today: insecurity of health-care in conflict. Attacks on medicalpersonnel and facilities, and other illegal acts that obstruct their work, putthe lives and well-being of millions at risk. This week the ICRC launched afour-year project, Health Care in Danger, that seeks to safeguard thedelivery of effective and impartial health care in armed conflict and othersituations of violence.Ensuring medical care in conflict is one of the cornerstones ofhumanitarian action and the Geneva Conventions. Indeed, the FirstGeneva Convention, established in 1864, codified protection for the sickand wounded on the battlefield. Over the next four years, the ICRC andNational Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will urge States party to

    the Geneva Conventions, the health-care community at large and othersconcerned to devise concrete solutions, to commit themselves to theirimplementation, and to strengthen protection for the sick and wounded.Below, we encourage you to read the ICRC's news release on the wide-reaching effects of violence against health care personnel and facilitiesand the need for all States party to the Geneva Conventions to act inorder to protect the safe delivery of and access to health care.In the section following, we share the result of a two-and-a-half-year,Sixteen Country Study in which the ICRC documented over 600 instancesof violence against health care workers and facilities. Here, we also focuson two contexts in particular, Mexico and Colombia, where providing andaccessing adequate healthcare is increasingly difficult. Lastly, we highlightvarious articles, videos and editorials from major US and international

    media that aim to bring attention to this issue.We first brought this issue to your attention in our April newsletter and willcontinue to raise awareness in the coming months and years. We hopeyou will join us in working to better safeguard health care in conflict.For more information, please see this new section ofICRC's website.As always, please write us with your thoughts and feedback.Kind regards,The ICRC Washington Delegation

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    Health-Care Workers

    Must Not Be Attacked


    lth Care in Danger - Insig

    This unique footage, shot inLibya earlier this year byindependent photojournalist

    Andr Liohn, starkly revealsthe danger that health-careworkers are exposed to asthey treat the war-woundedclose to the front line.


    Health Care in Danger: AHarsh Reality

    This brochure provides abrief overview of the starkreality of violence against

    Millions Affected by Violence Against

    Health-Care Personnel and Facilities10-08-2011 News ReleaseAssaults on health-care personnel,

    facilities and vehicles in conflictsand violent upheavals leave millionsaround the world without care justwhen they need it most. This is thekey finding of a newreportpresented by the InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross(ICRC) at a press conference inGeneva earlier this week."Violence against health-carefacilities and personnel must end. It's a matter of life and death," saidYves Daccord, the Director-General of the ICRC. "The human cost isstaggering: civilians and fighters often die from their injuries simply

    because they are prevented from receiving timely medical assistance."According to Dr. Robin Coupland, who led the research carried out in 16countries across the globe, millions could be spared if the delivery ofhealth care were more widely respected. "The most shocking finding isthat people die in large numbers not because they are direct victims of aroadside bomb or a shooting," he said. "They die because the ambulancedoes not get there in time, because health-care personnel are preventedfrom doing their work, because hospitals are themselves targets of attacksor simply because the environment is too dangerous for effective health

    care to be delivered."In 2009 a bomb blast inMogadishu killed over 20 people,most of whom had just graduatedfrom medical school. The attackon the young doctors not onlybrought their lives to a prematureend but also destroyed anychance that tens of thousands ofpeople might have had ofreceiving medical attention in themonths and years to follow.

    "Violence that prevents the delivery of health care is currently one of themost urgent yet overlooked humanitarian tragedies," insisted Mr. Daccord."Hospitals in Sri Lanka and Somalia have been shelled, ambulances inLibya shot at, paramedics in Colombia killed, and wounded people inAfghanistan forced to languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpointqueues. The issue has been staring us in the face for years. It must end."

    The health-care community alone cannotaddress the challenge. It is imperativethat States, their armed forces but alsoothers exercising authority recognize thatviolence that disrupts the delivery ofhealth care is one of the most seriousand widespread humanitarianchallenges."Addressing the issue effectively will

  • 8/6/2019 ICRC News and Notes August 2011


    health care.


    Health Care in Danger:

    Making the Case

    Attacking health-carestructures and personnel,and ambulances - as well asdeliberately obstructing theefforts of the wounded to findhelp - are common featuresof conflicts throughout the

    world. This publication aimsto draw attention to the issueof violence against healthcare.


    Health Care in Danger: TheMany Faces of a Growingproblem

    require humanitarian dialogue, respect for the law and the adoption ofappropriate measures by States, armed forces and non-State actors," saidMr. Daccord. "The ICRC is committed to working with all concerned inorder to secure effective and impartial health care."Deliberate assaults on health-care personnel, facilities and transports, aswell as on the wounded and sick, violate international law. The Geneva

    Conventions and their Additional Protocols set out the right of thewounded and sick - combatants and civilians alike - to be respected andprotected during armed conflict and to receive timely medical treatment.

    Health Care in Danger:

    A Sixteen Country Study

    This study is based on an analysis of reportscollected over a two and-a-half year perioddescribing 655 violent incidents affectinghealth care in 16 countries where the ICRC isoperational. The number of incidents that have

    been recorded is striking. But statisticsrepresent only the tip of the iceberg:thousands of wounded and sick people can bedenied effective health care when hospitalsare damaged by explosive weapons or forciblyentered by fighters, when ambulances arehijacked and when health-care personnel arethreatened, kidnapped, injured or killed. Thefindings of this study highlight the issues ICRC

    and partners aim to bring to the attention of States over the course of itsfour-year campaign Health Care in Danger. To read more about thestudy's findings and methodology, click here.


    Medical Provision in JeopardyThe Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez isone of many places in the world whereit is becoming more difficult for doctorsand nurses to treat their patients insafety. Over the past three years,attacks by organized criminals onhealth-care workers and facilities haveincreased in this city of 1.5 million onthe US border. They are entering clinicsand hospitals, carrying out targeted killings and abducting medicalpersonnel. Dr. Leticia Chavarria Villa works at a clinic in the city which hasbeen attacked and says the constant insecurity is jeopardizing provision of

    health care in the city. To read her interview click here.

    FEATURE: COLOMBIAHealth-Care Workers Under Pressure

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    Attacks on health-careworkers and facilities, andother illegal acts that obstructtheir work, put the lives andwell-being of millions at risk.This collection of photosillustrates the many aspectsof this widespread andgrowing humanitarianchallenge.


    Afghanistan: The Struggleto Reach Medical Care

    In Afghanistan, taxi driversserve as ambulances,rushing the sick andwounded to hospitals ormake-shift medical facilities.Most child births in thecountry still take place at

    home, in the absence of askilled birth attendant, onereason why Afghanistan hasone of the highest maternalmortality rates in the world.This collection of photosillustrates the impact of theongoing conflict on theseindividuals and other civilians

    Mirta Nubia Rosero is the only healthworker in a remote village in theNario department of south-westernColombia. Here, the Andeanmountain range enters Colombia. Itis also a place where, after five

    decades of conflict, unexplodedlandmines and remnants of war liehidden in the ground. Click here toread more about Mirta's struggles toprovide the community with muchneeded healthcare or watch the video, click here.

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    throughout Afghanistan.

    Upcoming Events5th Annual InternationalHumanitarian Law DialogsAugust 28-30

    Co-sponsored by and held atthe Robert H. JacksonCenter at the ChautauquaInstitution in New York, thisevent is a historic gatheringof renowned internationalprosecutors from Nurembergthrough present day andleading professionals in theinternational criminal lawfield. It will allow participantsand the public to engage inmeaningful dialog concerning

    past and contemporarycrimes against humanity, andthe role of moderninternational criminal law.Call for applications: 16thcourse in IHL forhumanitarian professionalsand policy-makersSeptember 19-24The ICRC regionaldelegation for Kenya,Djibouti and Tanzania callsfor applications for its 16thcourse in international

    humanitarian law (IHL) forhumanitarian professionalsand policy-makers. Held inNaivasha, Kenya.

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    ICRC Mission

    The ICRC is an impartial,neutral, and independentorganization whoseexclusively humanitarianmission is to protect the livesand dignity of victims of warand internal violence and toprovide them withassistance.