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Camp Liberty- Medical siege: Conference on the issue of right to health

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Camp Ashraf Hospital used to be equipped with surgery room
Camp Ashraf Hospital used to be equipped with surgery room

Legal and medical Aspects of current health care blockade on Camp Liberty residents who are all designated as People of Concern by UNHCR and protected person under 4th Geneva Convention

November 14, 2014- U.S. based MDA Foundation convened a video web-conference on the topic of “Worrying Health Condition in Camp Liberty”. The organizers of this event dedicated the topic to the barriers residents of Camp Liberty are facing in accessing healthcare. Physicians and specialist from U.S., U.K., Sweden, Italy and Australia were among the participants who listened to the facts and testimonies presented by Camp Liberty doctors, medical personnel and patients. Participants from Camp Liberty revealed how Government of Iraq and its security forces have abused the fundamental element of human rights, “the Right to Health” as an instrument of torture in staging arbitrary banns on their access to vital medical services outside the camp. In the lively interactive dialogue that followed these presentations, other participants raised questions and expressed their concern based on a purely scientific medical approach, good practice, medical ethics and medical accountability to formulate collectively an international campaign to lift the current the siege on the camp. One of the participants noted on the most recent statement from the World Medical Association statement on Camp Liberty as a proper model for drafting a resolution.

conference medicalcare

Prior to the conference, on 10 November 2014, the World Medical Association expressed its concerns to government of Iraq about the plight of these residents. In a letter delivered to the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the President of the WMA Dr. Xavier Deau, writes: “According to testimonies and reports from human rights organizations the basic rights of the 2700 residents - such as access to physicians and medicine, the confidentiality of physician-patient relationship or the right of patients to have interpreter and accompanying nurses when needed – are frequently violated.”
Dr. Carol Corillon, Director of Committee on Human Rights, from U.S. National Academy of Sciences, echoing the “touching” presentation of the Liberty residents noted on means and methods in bringing up this issue with prominent scientific personalities to deal with the immediate medical issues of the camp and in lifting the siege.

Dr. Daneshgari, professor of surgery from Case Western University and the organizer of the event warned the conference members that: “The reality is this siege basically has interfered with the natural history of the diseases to the extent that if we do not react collectively sooner … I am afraid we will not see some of the people we are seeing here, today…”. He closed the event with formulating an action plan to build up pressure on GoI. He emphasized that a statement by the conference members will be sent to Iraqi authorities requesting them to respect their commitments and core obligations towards ensuring the residents on full access to adequate health care services and facilities.

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