The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and medical students worldwide appeal for immediate cease of fire and for peace to be restored in Ukraine. We are deeply concerned by the potential of mass human casualties, destruction and mass displacement.
The IFMSA reaffirms the human right to peace and pleads for the aggressor forces to respect that right. Conflict and war only bring devastating loss to all sides involved. We, as medical students, assert that peace is fundamental for safe and equitable access to healthcare, for the vitality of humans and young people in specific, and above all for human dignity and rights.
Therefore, the IFMSA calls on the parties involved in the conflict to:
- Immediately cease fire and resume diplomatic discussions for peaceful resolution of the conflict and reconciliation;
- Uphold and respect international human rights law and comply with the principles of international humanitarian law;
- Ensure the protection of civilians, especially youth and children, from all forms of violence;
- Ensure the sanctity of essential services, especially health and care service, and ensure access to humanitarian aid for the affected populations;
We further call on neighbouring states to ensure safe and orderly mobility of displaced persons respecting their basic human rights and ensuring their access to essential services regardless of their legal status.
The IFMSA was born from the ashes of World War II, with the aim of promoting unity, collaboration and peace among medical students from across the globe as leaders of change in their communities. Hence, we call on medical students, health care workers, and young people worldwide to stand up for peace and uphold the principles of humanity, neutrality, and impartiality in their practice and connotations.
On Thursday, 24 February 2022, Russian military forces launched attacks on Ukrainian sites and have been progressing into Ukrainian territories, in a major escalation of the long-standing conflict between the two states . Furthermore, Russian forces took control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on Friday . Taking active fighting into the exclusion zone of the power plant constitutes a major nuclear threat that could end in a humanitarian catastrophe.
The armed conflict has been ongoing since 2014, impacting the lives of millions of people in eastern Ukraine with an estimated 2.9 million people, of which about 1.5 million are internally displaced , requiring humanitarian aid and protection in 2022, prior to the recent escalations . Years of conflict have resulted in acute needs of water, sanitation and hygiene, destruction of infrastructure, forced displacement of thousands of civilians and limited access to health and care services, undermining the well-being of people in the conflict-affected areas .
The recent escalations and the declaration of war come as a major humanitarian threat, potentially undermining an already fragile situation, with an estimated 100,000 people displaced since Thursday , the potential increase in health and care needs and further destabilization of determinants of health.
IFMSA General Secretariat: [email protected]
IFMSA Liaison Officer for Human Rights and Peace Issues: [email protected]
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