11 April 2022
WHA stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and all its healthcare workers.
The Board of WHA has unanimously agreed to signing the statement urging all counties to give absolute priority to de-escalation of this war.
The purpose of the statement on Ukraine is to bring attention to the medical and humanitarian dimension of the crisis, and to unite trusted medical voices in a call for peace.
The importance of healthcare voices speaking from a shared commitment to preserve life cannot be underestimated. Health and medical workers are trusted by the public, with skills as healers, advocates and educators, and play an important role in addressing violence, and in helping to build peaceful societies, by acting on the values that are core to the profession.
We thank The Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia) for your leadership on this issue.
- Since 24 February 2022, the World Health Organisation has reviewed and verified 72 separate attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine, causing at least 71 deaths and 37 injuries.
- The United Nations General Assembly has deplored Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an illegal act of aggression.
- The United Nations estimates 3.6 million Ukrainians are refugees, with another estimated 6.5 million people internally displaced.
- Military operations have damaged Ukrainian nuclear power installations, petrochemical plants, and other industrial facilities, creating the risk of widespread and long-term harm to human health and the environment.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons, and has put nuclear forces on elevated alert.
The war in Ukraine has triggered a health, human rights, refugee, and environmental crisis, causing millions of innocent people to suffer. The impacts of deeply traumatised and scarred human lives, ruined cities, and polluted lands and waters will be felt for generations. The most vulnerable members of society, including children, pay the heaviest price for the brutality of modern wars. We condemn Russia’s military aggression and call for it to cease.
Attacks on health care facilities are absolutely forbidden in armed conflict. We condemn them, in Ukraine and every other war zone in which they have occurred. We insist that all parties to this and all conflicts respect the neutrality of health professionals.
We stand in solidarity with health professionals in Ukraine as they serve their patients and their profession under often dangerous circumstances.
We stand in solidarity with health professionals in Ukraine and Russia who, in recognition of their shared commitment to preserve life, have called for a peaceful resolution.
As the war in Ukraine continues, the risk of escalation – and the use of nuclear weapons – grows. We call on Russia, the US, and NATO allies to explicitly renounce any use of nuclear weapons, and for all states, including Australia, to clearly say that any threat of use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable under any circumstances.
We urge all countries, including Australia, to give absolute priority to de-escalation of this war. Skilled diplomacy is desperately needed, and a commitment to continuing negotiations for as long as they are needed to achieve a lasting ceasefire.
Women’s Healthcare Australia urges our members to consider joining as signatories.
For more information and to add your signature visit: https://www.mapw.org.au/news/statement-on-ukraine/