The World Medical Association (WMA) is the global federation of National Medical Associations representing the millions of physicians worldwide. Acting on behalf of patients and physicians, the WMA endeavors to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care, ethics, education and health-related human rights for all people.
The WMA notes with deep concern an alarming inclination to attack health care personnel and facilities in emergency zones, threatening health care. The lack of security of health professionals damages gravely the provision of health care, with as a consequence a higher degree of distress for patients and even death. The primary task of physicians is to preserve health and save life.
The WMA has a long-standing commitment for the protection of health care in line with the principles of humanity and impartiality and in the framework of international humanitarian and human rights standards. WMA’s policies reflect its absolute determination to promote and ensure the full respect of medical ethics principles in situations of violence or armed conflicts as in peacetime.
The WMA has been a close partner of the Health Care in Danger (HCiD) project of the ICRC since the beginning and applauds the initiative and related-work accomplished so far in cooperation with the other partners of the project. The ICRC leadership in this initiative is a strategic support to WMA in carrying out its mission to protect physicians and other health professionals and promote the respect of medical ethics worldwide.
In cooperation with the ICRC and other HCiD project partners, the WMA is committed to take all the necessary actions, wherever possible, to work towards the following objectives:
- Ensure the safety, independence and personal security of healthcare personnel at all times, including during armed conflicts and other situations of violence, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols;
- Enable healthcare personnel to attend the injured and sick patients, regardless of their role in a conflict, and to carry out their health duties freely, independently and in accordance with the principles of their profession without fear of punishment or intimidation;
- Guarantee that safe access to adequate medical facilities for the injured and others in need of medical aid is not unduly impeded;
In doing so, the WMA will pursue its efforts in:
- Promoting the principles of international humanitarian and human rights law which safeguard medical neutrality in situations of conflict.
- Contributing to the setting up of reporting mechanisms to document violence against medical personnel and facilities as set out in the WMA Statement on the Protection and Integrity of Medical Personnel in Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence.
- Raising awareness of international norms on the protection of healthcare personnel, in particular, the Ethical Principles of Health Care in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Emergencies formally adopted in June 2015 by the military and civilian health-care organisations partners of the HCiD project.
- Promoting and encouraging the use of relevant educational material, in particular the ICRC e-learning on health care responsibilities in times of conflict and other emergencies and the WMA HCiD toolkits for physicians in situation of violence.
- Developing education material on the protection of health care personnel in non-armed conflict situations.
- Cooperating with different actors to identify strategies to tackle threats to healthcare, and further engaging national medical associations to promote cooperation with other HCiD partners at national level.
Pledge by World Medical Association
Pledge type: Specific