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Canadian Paediatric Society

Canadian Paediatric Society condemns combat attacks on all health care facilities and staff worldwide

May 2 2016

The Canadian Paediatric Society condemns combat attacks, whether deliberate or negligent, on all schools and health care facilities, patients and staff.

The latest bombing attack on a Syrian health care facility in Aleppo last week contravenes international humanitarian law, and has brought unnecessary and unspeakable suffering to the victims and their families. This hospital, which was completely destroyed, served as the city’s main referral centre for paediatrics.

According to international humanitarian law and principles, health workers must be able to provide medical care to all the sick and wounded, regardless of political or other affiliation and of whether they are combatants or not. Under no circumstances should health workers be punished for providing medical care, a stance which is also in line with medical ethics. 

Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross estimate that between 2012 and 2014, in just 11 countries, there were 2400 documented attacks against health workers, patients, medical facilities and transport. The vast majority of these attacks were on local medical facilities and personnel, and the knock-on effects for their surrounding communities were devastating. 

The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to debate a resolution on this matter on May 3. All four permanent council members currently participating in the Syrian conflict must respect their own resolutions and ensure that their military forces, as well as their allies’ military forces, start to implement the resolutions for which they unanimously voted.

The Canadian Paediatric Society urges the U.N. Security Council to find better ways to enforce international laws and prevent these and similar war crimes.

About the Canadian Paediatric Society

The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,000 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.

Last updated: May 2 2016