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Yemen: conference discusses improved protection for health workers and facilities

16-12-2012 News Release 12/245

Sana'a/Geneva (ICRC) – An ICRC-organized conference on the dangers facing health personnel and facilities has brought together Yemeni government representatives from the health, security and justice sectors, plus representatives of civil society and international organizations. The meeting in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on 16 December also addressed the factors that prevent the sick and wounded from obtaining health care during conflicts and other emergencies.

“Violence that prevents the delivery of health care is currently one of the most urgent yet overlooked humanitarian problems. This violence must end everywhere in the world, including Yemen,” said Eric Marclay, head of ICRC operations in the country. "The health-care community cannot solve the problem alone. The Yemeni government, the armed and security forces, all armed groups and all authorities concerned must engage in dialogue on this issue. They must all do everything necessary to ensure effective and impartial health care.”

Prior to the conference, the Yemeni authorities signed a declaration summarizing the rules and principles that are intended to protect health services, the sick and the wounded. These rules and principles form part of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which apply in Yemen as they do throughout the world. "I am very pleased that the authorities agreed to support both our initiative and the setting up of a working group convened by the ICRC,” said Mr Marclay. “The group will meet regularly after this conference, to agree concrete measures that will ensure compliance with these rules and principles during future crises."

International law clearly states that the sick, the wounded and health personnel must not be attacked or ill-treated, and that people must be able to obtain health care. Indeed, all possible measures must be taken to ensure that health care is provided to everyone who needs it, combatant and civilian alike, without discrimination.

For further information, please contact:
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 73 607 19 67 or +967 711 94 43 43
Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 30 23 or +41 79 251 93 02