A new resolution on health protection during armed conflict

Dr Rhona MacDonald, freelance editor, rhonamacdonald@gmail.com

A new resolution that stresses the importance of health protection during armed conflict has recently been launched. This resolution is an outcome of an international health conference and is part of a wider campaign to restore and strengthen the Geneva Conventions, especially as regards the safe-guarding of health workers and healthcare facilities/equipment/transport during armed conflict-the foundation of international humanitarian law, which, unfortunately, is no longer sacrosanct and is frequently disregarded with shocking ambivalence

The International Health Protection Initiative (IHPI), the initiative behind this resolution, is a collective movement of individuals, medical and health organisations, institutions and charities/NGOs who have agreed to help to lobby the World Health Assembly and their commitment to resolution WHA55.13 (passed in May 2002 to protect medical missions during armed conflict) and the United Nations (UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council) to act to uphold the Geneva Conventions to enforce the protection of healthcare during armed conflict.

The IHPI Resolution compliments other impending initiatives that will help to enhance the protection of patients, health workers and health facilities during armed conflict, including efforts to create a greater role for the World Health Organization.

Supporting the IHPI resolution is the first step in a long-term campaign calling for the protection of health care during armed conflict. In order to achieve the objectives outlined in the IHPI resolution and to support the wider campaign, IHPI is calling for the majority of the world’s healthcare organisations, institutions, NGOs and civil society, especially those in conflict afflicted countries, to sign-up to the IHPI resolution, and to support the other activities of the campaign, which will be publicised in due course.

Editors note: PLoS Medicine supports this initiative and has signed up to the IHPI resolution.

Competing interest: Rhona MacDonald is the co-ordinator of IHPI

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