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Center for Public Health and Human Rights

Conflict and Health

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Featured Project

Developing Tool to Track Attacks on Health Services

This project is developing a tool designed to track incidents of attacks on health care facilities, personnel, transports and patients in circumstances of conflict.

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Program Director: Len Rubenstein

The stresses on population health and human rights are nowhere greater than in situations of armed conflict, political violence and state fragility. Often, health needs increase yet safe access to health care decreases access. The Program on Human Rights and Health in Conflict is designed to protect the integrity and security of health services, and those who provide and receive them, in the fraught circumstances of conflict or political upheaval.

The program has four key dimensions. First, it conducts research and advocacy toward creates developing mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and accountability in order to strengthen protection of health workers, patients, facilities and ambulances from violent attack or interference in situations of conflict and political volatility. Second, it develops tools to track incidents of attacks on health care facilities and staff during conflict. Third, through research and advocacy, it addresses the ethical and human rights concerns arising in context of health and counter-terrorism, including the role of health interventions as a counter-terrorism strategy and the ability of health professionals to maintain allegiance to core professional obligation of beneficence, impartiality, and independence in situations where military forces, armed groups, or security officials demand otherwise. Fourth, it seeks to develop measure the occurrence of and develop better responses to gender-based violence among those affected by conflict, displacement, and statelessness.

Photo Credit: Karlo Emmanuel