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Conflict poses fundamental obstacle to safe health care, ICRC tells inquiry

Conflict poses fundamental obstacle to safe healthcare, ICRC tells inquiryReceiving safe and effective treatment when we are unwell or injured is vital for our health. Yet in times of war and violence, even getting help for common ailments or chronic conditions, not to say severe wounds, can be impossible. The ICRC has told a House of Commons inquiry more must be done to protect millions left without life-saving help when violence erupts.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been working to raise awareness of the devastating effects of violence on health care for the past three years. We talk to security forces, health workers and armed groups across the world to help ensure that access to health care for all is prioritized and enabled by sensible policies and implementation of laws that protect both doctor and patient.

In June the ICRC submitted evidence to a House of Commons inquiry into global health systems. We cautioned that conflict poses a fundamental obstacle to the safe delivery of care. Yet despite this vulnerability, clear steps can be taken to prevent attacks on health workers, ambulances and hospitals, to increase the resilience of local workers, volunteers and patients, and to hold to account those who deliberately obstruct care. Read more...

Photo: ICRC / C. Lepage / ss-e-00208


  • Lebanon: Helping Syrian refugees and host communities

    The arrival of over a million refugees from Syria in Lebanon, a country of four million people, has impacted everything from health care to education. Our head of delegation in Beirut, Fabrizzio Carboni, explains how we are helping host communities and refugees with food assistance, water network repairs and hospital care for wounded coming across the border.

  • Business, violence and conflict: complex solutions for complex environments

    No single organization or State can end business involvement in human rights abuses and humanitarian law violations in conflict zones. That was the conclusion of a panel discussion in London on the value of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) in improving the conduct of firms and their employees working amid violence.

  • ICRC delegate Mark Thomlinson on the road in Jammu. Getting the picture: working as a new detention delegate in India

    In his second diary entry, new delegate Mark Thomlinson explains his detention work for the ICRC. Mark, who is from Britain, visits people detained in connection with the situation in Jammu and Kashmir – this often means those who are accused of having taken up arms in pursuit of an independent or Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The goal of ICRC prison visits worldwide is to ensure those detained are treated with dignity and humanity, have access to family contacts and are subject to due legal process.

  • War, protection and the law: President Peter Maurer on challenges the ICRC faces

    The ICRC wants greater respect for existing laws of war and gaps filled in existing laws which leave civilians, the sick and the wounded vulnerable at times of conflict. Those were the core concerns raised by ICRC President Peter Maurer in a speech in London on the state of international humanitarian law.

  • United Kingdom: Crash course in law of armed conflict for Muslim NGOs

    Practical dilemmas and the universal relevance of the law governing armed conflict were at the forefront of a 2-day workshop for Muslim NGOs organized by the ICRC, Muslim Charities Forum and the British Red Cross.

  • First aid on the frontline United Kingdom: World War One: One hundred images for one hundred years

    On 4 August 2014 it will be 100 years since Europe went to war. To mark the centenary, every day for the hundred days until 4 August we'll be tweeting a picture from our First World War archives from @ICRC_uk.

  • Northern Ireland: In and out of trouble

    Street violence, intimidation and sectarian tension still mar the lives of young people across Northern Ireland, despite ceasefires and a peace agreement that ended large-scale conflict.

  • Northern Ireland: Time to choose

    Paramilitary groups still exert a strong grip over some communities in Northern Ireland. They attack or exile young people as punishment for alleged crimes, particularly in Republican areas where local people prefer not to deal with the police.


Events in the UK and Ireland

Cambridge UK: British Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Summer School

14 - 17 September 2014, Madgalene College, Cambridge. The British Red Cross will hold its biennial Summer School on International Humanitarian Law in September 2014.  This residential course is aimed at people with a professional interest in the practical application of IHL.

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