Medical Care Under Fire: An Examination of the Shrinking Humanitarian Space
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is a group whose mission is to provide emergency health care to distressed populations, including those affected by conflicts or wars. Over the past several years there has been an increasing disregard for the sanctity of protection of medical facilities in conflict zones, which has lead to direct military targeting of hospitals and clinics, as well as the patients and staff within them. MSF has endured fatal attacks on its medical facilities in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic in the past 12 months.
In this session we will examine the historical basis for protection of hospitals and clinics in times of war, the legal and advocacy mechanisms which exist to remediate against those who initiate attacks, and the implications on health care when targeting of health care facilities occurs. The concept of health care as a human right will also be examined as it is affected by military activity. Additionally, the means by which MSF needs to adapt its approach to attempt to maintain a presence in conflict settings will also be explored.