Twelve countries including France launch a political initiative to protect medical personnel in conflict zones (31 October 2017)


This morning, on the sidelines of the UN Security Council, under the French presidency, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian assembled the 15 Council members along with other UN member states and representatives of the UN, NGOs and the ICRC.

In current conflicts, some belligerents are increasingly engaging in a deliberate war against civilian populations, humanitarian personnel, and medical personnel working in conflict zones.

These attacks – which in 2016 caused the death of 372 people, two-thirds of them in Syria – are war crimes and their perpetrators must not go unpunished.

Medical personnel risk their own lives to care for the sick and injured in the heart of war zones. Their commitment means that we have an obligation.

At the end of this meeting, 12 member states signed a political declaration proposed by France. This declaration includes concrete measures to step up the protection of medical personnel in conflict zones, in particular:

  • examining national legislation on the protection of medical personnel and infrastructures to take into account the imperative need to protect and provide support for the impartial, unhampered care of all those who are injured
  • the need to investigate and document incidents
  • the assurance that our doctrines, procedures, and military practices take into account the imperative need to protect the injured, the sick, and medical personnel in conflict zones, and the sharing of best practices.

France calls on all UN member states to join this initiative and to adhere to the principles agreed on today.