02 September 2016

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) support the stand taken by leaders of the world’s physicians and nursing associations, who have condemned the continuing violence against health personnel in Syria and other nations.

In a recent joint statement, the World Medical Association (WMA) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said that the persistent and targeted attacks on doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel and other health workers in Syria had reached unprecedented levels. 

“We join our international colleagues in calling for ceasefires that would enable humanitarian aid to be provided to vulnerable civilians,” says NZMA Chair Dr Stephen Child.

“Doctors and nurses are being deliberately targeted in these armed conflicts. The international community has an obligation to speak out to urge world leaders to enforce an immediate truce to protect the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims caught up in this carnage.”

The two international organisations confirmed their support of the UN resolution (2268) that calls for a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

 “We are living in a globalised world,” said New Zealand Nurses Organisation Chief Executive Memo Musa, “and we have a responsibility as global citizens to reject inhumane behaviour from nation states in conflict. It should not matter where you live, the right to work and the right to health are basic human rights.

“We are calling for this gross breach of human rights to be condemned at the highest levels of international government. Doctors and nurses have the right to treat patients in safety, even in a conflict zone.”

Both the ICN and WMA support the ICRC Health Care in Danger project, and ICN is also a member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.