War-crime Strategy-Weaponisation of Healthcare-Must be Addressed Urgently

A study published in The Lancet looks at the extent of harm caused to healthcare providers in the war inflicted Syria. The weaponisation of health care: using people’s need for health care as a weapon of war over six years of Syrian conflict estimates that from March 2011 to February 2017, 814 medical personals have lost their lives in Syria. With nearly 200 attacks on health facilities in 2016 alone, medicine denied in besieged areas, and indispensable young medics forced to deliver care in extreme conditions, the study describes the extent to which health has been weaponised in the conflict, in what human rights organisations have described as a war-crime strategy.

“2016 marked the most dangerous year to date for health workers in Syria, and attacks on health workers continue. Rampant violations of international humanitarian law, and particularly the systematic attacks on health facilities and workers with intention to shut down care, to control the population set dangerous precedents.” says Dr Samer Jabbour, one of the lead authors of the study, co-Chair of the Commission, and Associate Professor of Public Health Practice at AUB’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

“The international community has left these violations of international humanitarian and human …

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