World Health & Population

World Health & Population 16(4) June 2016 : 31-37.doi:10.12927/whp.2016.24673
Special Focus: Attacks On Healthcare Workers In War Zones

Strategic Documentation of Violence against Healthcare: Towards a Methodology for Accountability

Phuong N. Pham, Patrick Vinck, Rob Grace, Adrienne Fricke and Michael VanRooyen

The valuable efforts that have arisen in recent years to document attacks against healthcare workers and infrastructure during armed conflicts have brought this issue to the forefront of the policy agendas of many health, public health, humanitarian and human rights organizations. However, although professionals and activists have highlighted the importance of accountability in deterring these attacks, considerations of international criminal responsibility in data-gathering efforts remain underexplored. This paper suggests an approach that could direct further accountability efforts for organizations interested in engaging in documentation. Such non-governmental organizations should aim to gather not only information about the nature of the attack but also data that help establish specific characteristics about the victim, the intent of the attacker and the patterns of violence. Additionally, these efforts to document attacks on healthcare workers, facilities and patients should involve a systematic, rigorous and demonstrable methodology.



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