Attacks against healthcare in armed conflict, including violence, access constraints and insecurity, represent a major threat to health, particularly for vulnerable groups and women. They contribute to population movement and prolong eventual recovery from armed conflict.
Together Chatham House and the Researching the Impact of Attacks on Healthcare (RIAH) project team are convening a three-hour, invitation-only virtual roundtable to consult relevant stakeholders on development of strategies to advance the recommendations of UN Security Council Resolution 2286.1.
In May 2016, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2286, demanding an end to impunity for those responsible for attacks on healthcare and calling for respect for international law on the part of all warring parties. Subsequently, the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) issued a set of 13 recommendations2 to implement Resolution 2286.
Moreover, in 2019 world leaders3 adopted a high-level United Nations Political Declaration on universal health coverage (UHC). The declaration noted that 1.6 billion people live in fragile contexts that challenge national systems’ capacities in and the provision of essential health services. It stressed the urgent need for a more coherent and inclusive approach to strengthen health systems and health security.
The declaration also called for uninterrupted and sustained access to essential health services and distribution systems in armed conflict, fragile and emergency contexts, including by protecting health workers, health infrastructure and facilities from destruction.
As the five-year anniversary of Resolution 2286 approaches, attacks against healthcare in armed conflict remain an intractable issue, and the consequences of such attacks are still not fully understood. It is thus timely to reflect on the adoption and impact of the UNSG’s 13 recommendations following Resolution 2286.
The recommendations are comprehensive and address the following three topics:
- establishing or reinforcing a framework of respect (Recommendations 1-8);
- enhancing the protection of medical care in armed conflict (Recommendation 9); and
- enhancing the documentation of, and accountability for, acts of violence against medical care in armed conflict (Recommendations 10-13).
A group of stakeholders from the four broad groups below are participating in this consultation:
- Actors and organisations operating under an IHL, humanitarian, or human rights framework.
- Those representing healthcare systems that have been impacted by the reverberating impacts of attacks.
- State actors, including diplomats, security, and military actors.
- Academics, researchers and policy-makers focused on these issues.
An opening panel introduces the topic and outline the rationale to bring these stakeholders together, followed y small group discussions focused on specific recommendations as determined by the composition and interests of confirmed participants.
Chair: Lieutenant-General (Retd) Louis Lillywhite, Senior Consulting Fellow, Chatham House, Centre for Universal Health