World Physiotherapy continues to watch events as they unfold in the Middle East.
Over the past two weeks, critical physiotherapy and rehabilitation infrastructure has been targeted, damaged or destroyed, further aggravating the scarcity of health and rehabilitation in a time when it is desperately needed.
Reports that physiotherapist colleagues are among the casualties of this horrific armed conflict is a source of further sadness.
Michel Landry, World Physiotherapy president, said: “We stand in unwavering solidarity with our families, friends, and colleagues on all side of this conflict. In the strongest possible terms, we advocate for a peaceful resolution of the violence in order to protect the innocent and most vulnerable, and to ensure access to care for all victims.
“We will continue to support our colleagues now, and in the days and years to come.”
World Health Professions Alliance statement
World Physiotherapy, as part of the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), is calling for all parties to the conflict in Israel and Gaza to respect their legal obligations under international humanitarian law to protect and respect access to healthcare and ensure the safety of civilians and healthcare workers.
Healthcare workers are delivering emergency medical care in the conflict areas with no regard to ethnicity, race, religion or political affiliation. They are putting themselves at enormous risk and we know that tragically many have been injured or killed. All parties to the conflict must adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, namely that under the Geneva Conventions the ill-treatment and killing of civilians is prohibited and the sick and wounded must be cared for.
WHPA also wishes to underline that under international law it is prohibited to abuse symbols of protection, and that hospitals and other health facilities and vehicles, such as ambulances, must under no circumstance be used as military installations of any kind or means of transportation.
In line with the humanitarian efforts that should be afforded to all citizens in conflict areas under the Geneva Conventions, WHPA members unanimously support the provision of care without risk to any health personnel. Therefore, WHPA calls for immediate cessation of any acts that risk the lives of civilians or health workers.
Representing 41 million health professionals around the world, WHPA recognises that access to health is a human right and any attack on health workers and the patients they serve is abhorrent and unacceptable.
World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA)
WHPA speaks for more than 41 million health professionals worldwide, assembling essential knowledge and experience from the key health professions in more than 130 countries.
WHPA member organisations:
- FDI World Dental Federation (FDI)
- International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
- International Council of Nurses (ICN)
- World Physiotherapy
- World Medical Association (WMA)
This page was updated on 20 October 2023 to include a statement from Michel Landry, World Physiotherapy president