Protection of humanitarian and medical personnel [fr]
Attacks against humanitarian and medical personnel sharply increased in recent years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 302 attacks targeted health care in 20 conflict-affected countries in 2016, killing 372 people.
Attacks against personnel and hospitals affect many countries: in South Soudan, in Yemen, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. There also are many other attacks on the work of humanitarians: obstacles to humanitarian access, threats or national legislation penalizing medical personnel. Preventing humanitarian and medical personnel from taking care of people living in conflicts zones is more and more used as a weapon of war. These practices are a violation of the international humanitarian law.
The UN and France are mobilizing to strengthen the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel. On the occasion of its presidency of the Security Council for the month of October, France organized on 31 October a ministerial meeting on the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel.
In this context, the UN Security Council has addressed the issue, including through resolution 2175 (2014) on the protection of humanitarian personnel, United Nations and associated personnel, which condemns all forms of violence and intimidation against humanitarian personnel, as well as attacks on humanitarian convoys and acts of destruction and looting of their property. On 3 May 2016, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2286, a groundbreaking text as it is the first Security Council decision on the protection of “the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian workers whose activities are exclusively medical, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities”. France has been particularly active in the adoption of this resolution.
In view of the persistence of acts of violence and other impediments to access to medical care in situations of armed conflict against humanitarian and health personnel, the international community must continue to mobilize its efforts to strengthen the security and protection of personnel, infrastructures and other material resources allocated to the medical mission, as well as those of the sick and wounded.
France is determined to contribute to strengthening the security and protection of humanitarian and medical personnel. French President. Emmanuel Macron, announced during the UN General Assembly in September 2017 the launch of the initiative on this issue.
This call was concretized with the organization by France on 31 October of a ministerial meeting on the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel. This meeting was chaired by the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, and gave Member States and actors on the ground the opportunity to adopt concrete measures with the signing of an ambitious political declaration.
With this declaration, States:
Recognize the importance of the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the implementation of resolution 2286;
Agree to review their national legislation to comply with international humanitarian law, with regard to medical protection.
Recognize to avoid arms transfers that could be used in violation of international humanitarian law;
Call upon the Security Council to adopt measures to respond to repeated acts of violence and other acts impeding the provision of medical care in armed conflict and to include this issue in the mandate of peacekeeping operations.
Agree to review their national military doctrine if necessary to include the protection of medical mission in the planning and conduct of their operations.
Besides France, 12 United Nations Member States accepted to sign this declaration: Sweden, Spain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, Switzerland, Uruguay, Canada, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.