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ICRC Alarmed By Attacks On Health Workers

GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug. 10 (UPI) — The International Committee of the Red Cross called for greater protection for healthcare workers in conflict zones around the world.

“Violence against healthcare facilities and personnel must end. It’s a matter of life and death,” ICRC Director General Yves Daccord said in a statement. “The human cost is staggering: civilians and fighters often die from their injuries simply because they are prevented from receiving timely medical assistance.”

The ICRC pointed to a 2009 attack in Somalia that left 20 people, most of whom were medical school graduates, dead. The aid agency said this meant thousands of people in the country lost out on medical care because of the attack on the healthcare sector.

The ICRC noted that deliberate attacks on healthcare workers and related infrastructure are a violation of international law. Governments and their armed forces are called on to come to terms with the notion that violence targeting healthcare is a widespread humanitarian problem.

“Violence that prevents the delivery of health care is currently one of the most urgent yet overlooked humanitarian tragedies,” ICRC researcher Robin Coupland said.

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