MEDIA RELEASE  issued Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) has expressed its grave concern at the arrests by the Turkish Government of all 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association's Central Council for their statement on the public health consequences of war.

MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham said, “MAPW in Australia fully supports our health worker colleagues everywhere in speaking out about the terrible impacts that warfare has on public health.  It is the duty of our profession to speak out about anything that undermines health and the closely related issue of human rights.”

War has many impacts on the overall health of a nation, not only in the deaths and physical and mental maiming of many of its citizens, but also in the suppression of basic freedoms – as we are seeing in Turkey now – and in the diversion of resources from health and other essential services to destructive purposes.

The doctors’ right to freedom of expression is enshrined in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Turkey ratified in 2003.  Those rights have now been undermined.

MAPW notes also the terrible impact of Western involvement in the Middle East in helping trigger and prolong the wars there, and particularly the flooding of the region with weapons. Australia’s recent decision to profiteer from warfare to an even greater extent than we already do is a grave indictment of our failure to put peace and human rights first.

MAPW calls on the Turkish government to immediately release the physician leaders and to end the campaign of intimidation against them. 

For interview, please call:

MAPW President Dr Sue Wareham, 02 6253 1117 or 0407 924 152