The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) has expressed its concerns over the arrests of the leaders of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA), which followed their appeal denouncing war as a public health problem.
IFMSA guided by its policy document on Peace, Peace building and Health understands peace as both the absence of conflict (negative peace), and the presence of equality, equity and harmony (positive peace). We understand that a peaceful environment is not only important for safe and full access to health care for our communities, but also essential for the continuity of education as well as the sanctuary of health services.
We also acknowledge that peace and health are closely interlinked, one cannot exist without the other. The very basic principles of living together in healthy societies are strongly linked to a peaceful environment. Good health is the basic condition that enables people to contribute and participate in a society and their everyday activities. Violence, aggression and warfare are among the greatest risks not only for sustainable peace, but also for health and the economic welfare. Even the World Health Assembly in 1996 declared violence to be a ‘leading worldwide public health problem’.
As medical students, youth, and future health care professionals, we have an undisputed duty to promote the ideas of peace and peace building and to defend basic human rights and freedoms. We fully support the stance of the World Medical Association (WMA) and other organizations, and also call for immediate release of the Turkish Medical Association’s leaders. Health care workers have an unique and a key role in peace building and peacekeeping, also through their role as advocates for peaceful and violence-free societies and their rights to express their stances should be respected, protected and fulfilled.
About the IFMSA:
The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, it is one of the world’s oldest and largest student-run organizations. It represents, connects and engages every day with an inspiring and engaging network of 1.3 million medical students from 136 national member organizations in 127 countries around the globe.