Medical neutrality must be observed in Ukraine
The World Medical Association (WMA) and the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) express deep concern about the conflict in Ukraine initiated by the Russian Federation and strongly stress that the international principle of medical neutrality and human rights must be respected.
Prof. Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of Council of the World Medical Association, said “The World Medical Association deplores the unprecedented aggression in Ukraine by the Russian leadership. It calls on Russian leaders to respect the work of doctors and nurses in the country and the neutrality of health care institutions. Our thoughts are with Ukrainian colleagues and we appeal for a speedy end to hostilities.”
Following reports of the shelling of a hospital in the Donetsk region, we emphasise that medical facilities must not be military targets, doctors and healthcare professionals must not be prevented from performing their professional duties, and all efforts must be made to ensure that patients and casualties have full access to healthcare.
Preventing doctors from providing medical care to patients, or sanctioning them for doing so, contravenes international law as enshrined in conventions the Russian Federation has committed to observe.
Dr Christiaan Keijzer, President of the Standing Committee of European Doctors, said “We condemn any act of aggression that prevents doctors and healthcare professionals carrying out their duty of care to protect lives. European doctors stand in solidarity with their Ukrainian colleagues who are now working in the centre of the conflict and urge the swift end to all military aggression.”