Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Humanitarian’ Category

United States officials calls on all nations to stop using Cuba’s medical missions, which send doctors around the world, saying that Cuba refused to pay the medical staff and held them against their will.

Thomson Reuters

“……The Caribbean island nation has a respected health service and generates major export earnings by sending more than 50,000 health workers to more than 60 countries.

But it came under criticism in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro last year called the Cuban doctors “slave labor” and Cuba recalled its 8,300 medical workers stationed there.

Ramona Matos, a Cuban doctor, said she worked with medical missions in Bolivia and Brazil where Cuban security agents took away the doctors’ passports and other identification.

“We were undocumented,” she said at the State Department’s news conference. “If anything happened to us, we got hurt, we died … nobody would know our identity.”

Nearly all of the doctors’ earnings were sent back to Cuba where they were frozen in accounts that they could not access until they completed their missions, she said.

“We were basically being trafficked, and we were victims and exploited by the Cuban government,” she said……”


A UN report on Yemen released on Tuesday details a host of possible war crimes committed by various parties to the conflict over the past five years, including through airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and the impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

GENEVA (3 September 2019) – A UN report on Yemen released on Tuesday details a host of possible war crimes committed by various parties to the conflict over the past five years, including through airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and the impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen, created by the UN Human Rights Council, found that the governments of Yemen and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Houthis and affiliated popular committees have enjoyed a “pervasive lack of accountability” for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

The report calls for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence committed against civilians in violation of applicable international human rights and international humanitarian law, and demands that the parties take action to protect civilians and ensure justice for all victims.

It urges other States to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict, and reminds them of their obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

“Five years into the conflict, violations against Yemeni civilians continue unabated, with total disregard for the plight of the people and a lack of international action to hold parties to the conflict accountable,” said Mr. Kamel Jendoubi, chairperson of the Group of Experts on Yemen.

“The international community must multiply its efforts to free the Yemeni people from the persistent injustice they have been enduring.”

Despite a lack of cooperation by the Coalition and Government of Yemen, the Group of Experts was able during the short time available this year to conduct more than 600 interviews with victims and witnesses, to examine documentary and open-source material,  and to carry out investigations into emblematic cases to establish patterns of conduct indicative of alleged violations in Yemen since September 2014.

The Experts found reasonable grounds to believe that the conduct of hostilities by the parties to the conflict, including by airstrikes and shelling, continued to have an extreme impact on civilians and many of these attacks may amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law. The Experts further found reasonable grounds to believe that, in addition to violations related to the conduct of hostilities, the parties to the armed conflict in Yemen are responsible for arbitrary deprivation of the right to life, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, torture, ill-treatment, child recruitment, violations of fundamental freedoms, and violations of economic, social and cultural rights. These amount to violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable. Subject to determination by an independent and competent court, many of these violations may result in individuals being held responsible for war crimes.

The Group of Experts has identified, where possible, individuals who may be responsible for international crimes, and an updated confidential list of individuals has been submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Where identification of individuals was not possible, the Experts have identified the group responsible.

“This endemic  impunity – for violations and abuses by all parties to the conflict – cannot be tolerated anymore. Impartial and independent inquiries must be empowered to hold accountable those who disrespect the rights of the Yemeni people. The international community must stop turning a blind eye to these violations and the intolerable humanitarian situation,” said Jendoubi.

The Group of Experts attributed direct responsibility to the parties to the conflict regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The continued extreme impact of attacks against civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, water facilities, food transport, farms and market places, as well as the use of blockades and siege-like warfare, impeding humanitarian access, and other such measures have exacerbated the disastrous humanitarian situation.

“The inhumane deprivation of the Yemeni population of their rights to medicine, water and food should stop immediately. The very survival of the 24 million in need should be the first priority”, added Jendoubi.

The Group expressed strong concern that the parties to the conflict may have used starvation as a method of warfare, as these acts contributed to depriving the population of objects indispensable to its survival.

The Experts’ report calls on all States and international organizations to promote and support all efforts, notably those of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen to achieve a sustainable political solution including accountability.

The report urges the Human Rights Council to ensure that the situation of human rights in Yemen remains on the Council’s agenda by renewing the mandate of the Group of Experts and further suggests that the Council request the Group to continue to report to it periodically. The Group of Experts further suggested that the Council strengthen its mandate to combat impunity by requesting it to collect and preserve evidence of alleged violations.

ENDS

For the full report, please go to:
In English: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/YemenGEE/Pages/Index.aspx

About the Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen 

In its resolution 36/31 in September 2017, the Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a group of eminent international and regional experts on Yemen to monitor and report on the situation of human rights. The  Group of Experts was mandated to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and other appropriate and applicable fields of international law committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014, including the possible gender dimensions of such violations, and to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses and, where possible, to identify those responsible.

On 4 December 2017, the High Commissioner established the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts, appointing Mr. Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia) as Chairperson, and Mr. Charles Garraway (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), and Ms. Melissa Parke (Australia) as experts. Following the submission of the first report of the group to the 39th session of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/39/43) in September 2018, resolution 39/16 renewed the mandate of the Group for further year, requesting a second report at its 42nd session in September 2019.


Squalid Conditions at our Southern Border

NYT

 


The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues

MEMO

“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said….that essential services in Yemen are on the verge of total collapse as the war enters its fifth year. It added that only 51 per cent of the country’s health facilities are still working in full, although they suffer from a severe shortage of medicines, equipment and staff.

“As the conflict in Yemen enters its fifth year, the salaries of more than 1.25 million government employees, including doctors, social workers and other public sector workers, have been suspended for more than two and a half years” the organization said in a report, explaining that the suspension has led to the closure or reduction of working hours of vital facilities such as health facilities, schools, water and sanitation facilities and other essential social services…..”


Sahel: Humanitarian Emergency

ReliefWeb

“…..UN aid agencies and NGOs warned today that surging armed violence in the Sahel has propelled forced displacement and humanitarian emergency to unprecedented levels. They called for stepped-up support and greater efforts to address the causes of the region’s crises.

In the past year, around 1 million people had to flee their homes due to insecurity and violence. In Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger displacement has increased five-fold, and the Lake Chad Basin is witnessing a new spike in displacement and attacks. Across the Sahel, 4.2 million people are uprooted…..”

UN

HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY AT UNPRECEDENTED LEVEL IN SAHEL

Dakar, 27 June 2019 – UN aid agencies and NGOs warned today that surging armed violence in the Sahel has propelled forced displacement and humanitarian emergency to unprecedented levels. They called for stepped-up support and greater efforts to address the causes of the region’s crises.     In the past year, around 1 million people had to flee their homes due to insecurity and violence. In Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger displacement has increased five-fold, and the Lake Chad Basin is witnessing a new spike in displacement and attacks. Across the Sahel, 4.2 million people are uprooted.

“The impact of the crisis, in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions, is dramatic. The extent and intensity of the attacks have left communities suffering untold devastation,” said Chris Nikoi, Regional Director of the World Food Programme. “Millions of people have yet to recover from last year’s food and nutrition crisis. With the lean season underway, we must provide quick and sustained help to save lives and avert a deeper crisis.”

The violence is disrupting livelihoods and deepening the impact of chronic vulnerabilities such as food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics in affected communities in Burkina Faso, Cameroon (Far North), Chad, Mali, Niger and north-east Nigeria. More than 7 million people are struggling with food insecurity. Malnutrition is threatening the lives of 5 million children. Education has been significantly hit, with more than 4,000 schools closed or not functional and 900,000 pupils affected.

“With armed violence comes destitution and deprivation. We must safeguard the dignity of people affected by conflict and ensure their protection from threats, exploitation and abuse,” said Liz Ahua, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Regional Representative for West Africa. “Beyond the humanitarian response, the Sahel needs support to tackle the root causes of the recurrent crises besetting the region. Crucially, the Sahel needs more robust investment in public services, infrastructure and economic development to bring about lasting solutions for all its people.”

Although conflict and its devastating impact have plagued the Sahel for many years, insecurity has never spread so fast, in such vast areas and affected as many people. The risk of spill-over beyond the Sahel and into coastal countries is growing.

“Humanitarian access continues to be under threat. Insecurity and restrictions imposed during military operations hinder the delivery of aid. Faced with these difficulties, we must insist on humanitarian principles. We are there to stay and assist the affected communities wherever they are,” said Marianne Irion, Regional Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“If we want to reverse the trend in the Sahel, the security-centric focus must change,” said Mamadou Diop, Regional Director of Action Contre la Faim. “We must ensure people’s access to basic services, especially in the conflict-affected areas, where needs are outpacing available resources. And we need flexible funding to build resilience and address the root causes of the crises.”

The humanitarian community has requested for US$ 2.4 billion to assist 15.3


The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues…..Yemen Snapshots: 2015-2019

ReliefWeb

Crisis In Yemen : Document 2019

preview

 

“…….The Scale of the Conflict:

  • ACLED (Armed Conflict Location & Event Data) records over 91,600 total reported fatalities from the start of 2015 to the present
    • Approximately 17,100 were reported in 2015; 15,100 in 2016; 16,800 in 2017; 30,800 in 2018; and 11,900 in 2019 thus far
  • More than 39,700 conflict events have been reported since the start of 2015
    • Approximately 7,700 in 2015; 8,700 in 2016; 7,900 in 2017; 10,200 in 2018; and 4,900 in 2019 thus far
  • Overall, 2018 is the war’s deadliest and most violent year on record

Impact on Civilians:

  • ACLED records nearly 4,500 direct civilian targeting events resulting in approximately 11,700 reported civilian fatalities since 2015
    • Approximately 4,500 reported fatalities in 2015; 2,200 in 2016; 1,900 in 2017; 2,400 in 2018; and 600 in 2019 thus far
  • 2015 is the deadliest year for direct anti-civilian violence on record, with almost twice the number of reported fatalities recorded during 2018, the second-most lethal year
  • The Saudi-led coalition and its allies remain responsible for the highest number of reported civilian fatalities from direct targeting, with over 8,000 since 2015…..”

Burden of emergency medical diseases around the world

Global Medical Emergencies Document

Razzak J, Usmani MF, Bhutta ZA. Global, regional and national burden of emergency medical diseases using specific emergency disease indicators: analysis of the 2015 Global Burden of Disease Study. BMJ Glob Health 2019;4:e000733. doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2018-000733

“……In general, an emergency condition was defined as those requiring interventions within minutes to hours to reduce the chance of disability and death and improve health outcomes.
Razzak and his team’s results show a 6 percent increase in deaths of adults and children due to emergency conditions between 1990 and 2015. Over the 25-year period, the most significant decrease was found in upper-middle-income countries, and the lowest level of decrease — between 11 and 15 percent — in poorer nations. Overall, the mortality burden of medical emergencies was found to be more than four times to five times higher in low-income countries around the world compared to high-income countries.
Globally, injuries from accidents, falls and burns (22 percent), heart attacks (17 percent), lung infections (11 percent) and strokes (7 percent) made up the top emergency conditions and diseases in 2015. Other conditions such as diarrheal diseases and malaria had a lower overall global burden, but were more prevalent in low-income countries. The analysis also showed that emergency diseases affect men much more than women, and half of all the emergency disease burden was among people younger than 45 years old.
Countries with the lowest mortality and morbidity burden of medical emergencies included Bahrain, Israel and Kuwait, while Chad, Niger and Mali had the highest burdens. China, India and the United States, the three most populous countries studied, were ranked globally at 64th, 144th and 47th out of 195, respectively, in terms of the lowest burden of emergency diseases……”


Charting an Ethical Course in Providing care Within Global Areas of Conflict

Ethical Challenges in Humanitarianism during Violent Situations

Reality Makes Our Decisions: Ethical Challenges in Humanitarian Health in Situations of Extreme Violence

Report and recommendations: a collaboration among Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Center for Humanitarian Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | International Rescue Committee | Syrian American Medical Society

 

“…….The ethical principles include respect for persons (i.e., respect for human dignity and for individuals’ autonomous choices), beneficence (the promotion of others’ well-being), non-maleficence “do no harm”, and justice (in both fair distribution of resources and fair processes for decision-making). These four principles, can be adapted to the provision of health care to communities, though how the principles are weighed and applied might differ…..”


Venezuela: Grappling with the challenges of delivering humanitarian supplies in a violent and polarized nation where even basic transportation infrastructure has crumbled.

NYT


Finally, the Venezuelan government allows the Red Cross to send in 24 tons of medical equipment.

NYT

“……A recent United Nations report found about a quarter of the country’s population is in dire need of food and basic supplies — and the need is expected to grow. The International Monetary Fund estimates the Venezuelan economy will shrink by 25 percent this year as infrastructure continues to crumble.

Around 5,500 Venezuelans flee the country daily in what has become one of the world’s biggest refugee crises, according to the United Nations…..”

 


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