Monitoring Attacks on Health Care as a Basis to Facilitate Accountability for Human Rights Violations
Health & Human Rights Journal, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2021
16 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021
Date Written: June 18, 2021
Violence against health care systems is an assault on health and human rights. Despite the evolution of global standards to protect health workers and ensure the delivery of health care in times of conflict, attacks against health systems have continued throughout the world—violating humanitarian law, undermining human rights, and threatening public health. The persistence of such violence against health care, especially in humanitarian crises related to armed conflict, has prompted global institutions to develop systematic monitoring mechanisms in an effort to alleviate these harms, seeking to protect health workers from being harmed for their healing efforts. This article examines the development and implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Surveillance System of Attacks on Healthcare (SSA) as a systematic mechanism to collect and disseminate data concerning attacks on health care systems. Although the SSA provides a foundation for monitoring attacks in conflict zones, this research considers whether the SSA has collected the necessary data, categorized these data appropriately, and disseminated sufficient information to facilitate human rights accountability, analyzing the political, methodological, and institutional challenges faced by WHO. The article concludes that refinements to this monitoring mechanism are needed to strengthen the political prioritization, research methodology, and institutional implementation necessary to ensure accountability for violations of health and human rights.
Note: Funding: No funding.
Declaration of Interests: None declared.
Keywords: Human Rights, Global Health, Violence, International Humanitarian Law, World Health Organization
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