American University of Beirut

UNGA High-level Side Event


​Unabashed attacks on health care have been a defining feature of several recent armed conflicts. A recent review found “staggering” attacks in 23 countries in conflict, indicating widespread violation of international law.  A Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria study, found that “the frequency and extent of targeting of health care is not known to have occurred in any previous war” and described ‘weaponization of health care’ (infographic below) as a strategy of war.  


This practice has been so flagrant that it led the UN Security Council to adopt Re​solution 2286 in May 2016 calling for an end to all attacks on civilian infrastructure health care and protection of health workers. However, target health care continued or intensified after the Resolution.   

With the aim to advance international efforts, including those of the UN, to protect health care in conflict areas in follow-up to UNSC Resolution 2286, the Permanent Missions of Canada, the Netherlands, Spain​, and the United Kingdom in collaboration with the Lancet-American University of Beirut Commission on Syria and Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, are organizing a High-Level Side Event during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

The 2-hour event, "Protecting Health Care in Armed Conflict", held Friday 22 September 2017 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, in ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, brought together UN Member States, International NGOs, academics and experts to review: 

  • The global scale of attacks on health care and other health-related violations under international law  in armed conflict​​
  • The progress since UNSC Resolution 2286 including efforts of UN Member States, the UN and civil society internationally, to document, investigate, and respond to such violations
  • Policy and practice options and next steps to be taken by UN Member States and the international community to advance protection of health workers in armed conflict



Right after the UNGA Side Event, the organizers hosted a Lunch/Roundtable at the AUB New York Office ​(5​ min walk from UN Headquarters), from 1:45 pm to 4 pm, to continue the discussion started at he UNGA Side Event and explore next steps. Participants at the UNGA Side Event, academics, NGOs and civil society, and the Press were invited. 

​Quick links

Event coverage

Contact us

Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria​
Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Van Dyck Hall, room 235

Mail: ​P.O​. Box: 11-0236, Riad El Solh, Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon

​​Tel: +961-1-350-​000 x4639 or x4638
Mob: +961-3-363-763

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