BMA and doctors’ groups unite to condemn attacks on healthcare staff and facilities in Myanmar

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK International
Published: Tuesday 27 April 2021

The British Medical Association is leading UK doctors’ groups in their condemnation of human rights abuses in Myanmar, in particular expressing their grave concern at the targeting of medical professionals and healthcare facilities by the armed forces during the ongoing military coup.

A statement of solidarity1 co-ordinated by the BMA and signed by representatives from 18 other organisations2, including seven medical royal colleges, states:

“We, the undersigned and the organisations we represent, express our grave concern regarding the situation in Myanmar and the persistent abuse of human rights. We are particularly alarmed by the targeting of medical professionals, including those engaging in their human right to protest against the illegal military coup. We stand in solidarity with them and all those who are impacted.”

It goes on:

“Myanmar security forces have shot at health workers without provocation, arbitrarily arrested many, assaulted some, and forced others to flee their homes. In Yangon alone, at least a hundred medical students have been arrested.

“This is a gross violation of the rights of doctors and it is also detrimental to the healthcare of patients, diminishing their right to the highest standard of health which is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which was ratified by Myanmar in 2017. Not only is medical care being provided in makeshift health centres with limited resources and facilities, but actions by the Myanmar military, such as cutting off internet access for large sectors of the country, further harm the ability of doctors and nurses to offer the highest level of care.”

The organisations urge the country’s security forces to release all those they have arbitrarily arrested, to respect the right to freely protest and to respect the principle of medical neutrality.

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Read the full statement.
  2. Signatories include representatives from the BMA, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons of England, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Radiologists, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Tropical Health and Education Trust, British Medical Journal, British Association of Dermatologists, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) and WFSA (UK), Myanmar-UK GP Health Action, Medics 4 Myanmar, World Extreme Medicine, Cambridge Global Health Partnerships and Global Health Roots.