Syria: Treating the wounded, a forgotten priority

Paris, 12 June 2012 – The United Nations and Syrian authorities have finally agreed to implement a humanitarian aid plan. This represents progress.

Under the terms of the agreement reached last week, a few humanitarian organisations and agencies already operating in Syria, and which are working with Iraqi refugees, must be able to deploy aid.

However, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) believes that this agreement does not make adequate provision for a response to the current medical emergency. It is crucial that victims of the conflict – the wounded and others who need emergency care – receive treatment. Moreover, the agreed arrangement fails to address the need to ensure the neutrality of healthcare facilities.

Access to healthcare for all victims of the conflict should be a priority for the parties that are in dialogue with the Syrian authorities. This means respecting the physical integrity of patients, medical staff and healthcare facilities.

Violence in Syria has been continuing for more than 16 months and providing hospitals with medicines and medical supplies is not an adequate response to the influx of wounded. It is essential to increase treatment capacity.

Syrian medical teams must be able to work without discrimination or threats of reprisal, and accept support from medical teams who are capable of working impartially.

MSF reiterates its call for the Syrian authorities’ authorisation to work in the regions affected by violence. The organisation stands ready to rapidly mobilise its medical and surgical resources in order to treat the wounded.