Our societies are filled with social inequalities. These inequalities are the result of our societies being structured in a way to discriminate people with demographic basis so that the power is distributed with the control of the dominant group. Our world today has come a long way to identify these inequalities and define universal human rights with the principle of all people being equal in rights, freedom in dignity. But thousands of years worth of discriminatory structures cannot be overcome over a few decades especially considering that they are embedded to our everyday lives through our bias in decision making and normalized behaviors.
IFMSA is a platform where students from all over the world gather together to realize the universal values of medicine and human rights through whether focusing on public health or sexual and reproductive health, medical education, exchanges, or directly on human rights and peace building. However, despite the vocal and strong cause we unite for, we are not immune from the discriminatory and oppressive mindsets, ideologies and behaviours that takes over our societies. The incidents we experienced in SCORP Camp showed that even while volunteering in a Human Rights events one can be the enabler of discriminatory actions if not the perpetrator of them. To add to that, more than 15 000 of medical students annually go for Exchanges through IFMSA. It is sad to admit that sometimes the human rights affecting situations happen during students’ staying abroad even if they are surrounded by other IFMSA people and coordinators. It is inappropriate that we don’t have any mechanisms of prevention and protection while these incidents happen.
As IFMSA it is our responsibility to promote human rights and peace. This includes the human rights of our members and the incorporation of human rights in the work we do in every area.
Through this Small Working Group, we aim to address an issue we may have within our Federation. Because it should never be assumed that these types of incidents are single and isolated events, on the contrary, just like how it happens outside of our Federation, they usually occur as a part of a bigger problem which means the potential for them to happen in different ways is still there. Therefore we need to take steps that will encourage reflection on the issues we face or contribute to, strengthening our frameworks to prevent these incidents and build capacity in our members for them to recognize human rights violations and adopt a human rights based approach.
So join us by with this survey we aim to reach you as our individual members to assess what you think about the current situation in IFMSA, what is happening, what is done, and what needs to be done. We hope you answer every question as candid as you can and reflect your experiences.
Access the form here.