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Tell Congress: Help Stop Attacks on Doctors Now

Medical professionals often serve on the front lines, providing care to the sick and injured in times of war and unrest, and they see first-hand the effects of attacks on civilians. Oppressive regimes often target health care providers and facilities. When medics are in jail or health centers are occupied by security forces, the sick and injured have nowhere to turn for treatment.

These attacks on the medical profession are deliberate violations of medical neutrality – the principle that requires governments not to interfere with the proper functioning of health systems during conflict and civil unrest.

The uprisings across the Arab world are some of the most recent contexts where violations against medical neutrality are taking place. Recently, in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria,  doctors and their patients have endured physical attacks, arrests, and discrimination. But violations of medical neutrality occur all over the world – in places like Burma, where community health workers risk arrest for possessing medical supplies, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where doctors treating survivors of sexual assault face harassment and physical attacks.

The US must do more to end this scourge by exerting pressure on governments that attack health workers, hospitals, and patients. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced the Medical Neutrality Protection Act of 2013, which would authorize the withholding of US military support to offending governments and ban individuals responsible for these crimes from entering  the US. Passing this legislation would send a strong message to the world that the United States does not tolerate attacks on health workers wherever they may occur.

Medical neutrality is one of PHR’s core principles. Urge your Representative to support the Medical Neutrality Protection Act today.

Recipients

  • Your Representative

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Message

Support The Medical Neutrality Protection Act Today!

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a supporter of Physicians for Human Rights, I strongly urge you to co-sponsor the Medical Neutrality Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2033) in order to bring an end to attacks on health workers in times of war and unrest. In situations of armed conflict and other forms of violence, health workers who bravely treat their patients take significant risks. Government officials or other combatants too often attack hospitals, arrest or intimidate medical professionals, target ambulances, or otherwise interfere with the proper operation of health systems. The Medical Neutrality Protection Act, introduced by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), authorizes essential measures to deter attacks on health workers, facilities, transport, and supplies and hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable. Passing this bill would send a clear message that the United States does not tolerate attacks on doctors, hospitals, or patients in any situation of war or unrest.

By supporting this piece of legislation, you stand in solidarity with the health workers who serve as first responders to injured protesters and others in need. Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]