Journal warns health rights endangered

The Lancet medical journal warns the health rights of people and the lives of health workers are at risk as world tensions escalate, as reported by Human Rights Watch.

Journal warns health rights endangered

The “hidden story” about worldwide human rights abuses in 2014 were attacks on health workers and health rights, according to an editorial in The Lancet*.

The details are contained in Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2015, their 25th annual global review documenting human rights practices in more than 90 countries and territories.

The Lancet said here were countless attacks on health-care facilities and health workers in conflict and crisis settings, such as the killing of more than 70 polio vaccination workers in Pakistan and Nigeria by militant groups.

  • bola fear in Guinea early in 2014 prompted attacks on treatment centres (the worst was the brutal murder of six health workers and journalists).
  • health workers providing care to government protesters were arrested in Bahrain and Turkey; and
  • there was indiscriminate bombing of hospitals, killing and injuring health workers in Syria and the Gaza Strip.

Because of all the attacks, In late December 2014, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for concerted and specific actions to protect health workers from violence and to assure patients access to health care in situations of conflict and insecurity.

Gender-based violence and violating women’s and girls’ reproductive rights were also prominent in 2014, The Lancet said. Rights abuses include countries where abortion is illegal and access to reproductive services is limited, such as in Latin America. Involuntary sterilisation is common in India and Uzbekistan, often in unsafe medical facilities.

“Mental health care in many countries is dire, especially for individuals living with other disabilities,” the editorial said.

“Other rights violations against health include poor access to clean air and water. Toxic pollution is a serious threat to health worldwide, mostly affecting the poor and the powerless, and the report shows that governments have been slow to respond,” The Lancet said.

* The Lancet, Vol 385, No 9967, p481 7 Feb 2015

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