The WHO World Health Assembly, held in Geneva on May 22-28, was a complete disappointment for Ukraine. Russia was “deeply concerned” and received carte blanche to continue destroying hospitals.
By waging a full-scale war in Ukraine, Russia used cynical tactics that had been used in Syria. It provokes a humanitarian crisis for military purposes. In particular, it systematically and deliberately destroys Ukrainian hospitals.
From 24 February to 24 May, 167 hospitals were attacked or destroyed; 33 attacks were carried out on medical personnel. This is the most destruction in such a short time, which is recognized by the WHO in its report.
The situation is unprecedented: one of the member states, Russia, has grossly violated the organization’s constitution and is unilaterally destroying the health care of another country, Ukraine.
This should provoke an immediate and harsh response from the WHO, but it is in no hurry to take action.
For a long time, the leaders of the organization avoided clear assessments and tried not to use the words “war” and “Russia” in one sentence.
And so the WHO voted in favor of the resolution on “Emergency situation in the field of health care in Ukraine, countries that receive and accommodate refugees, caused by Russian aggression.”
The organization (from February 24) was waiting for three months before the next session of the World Health Assembly. Not as fast as to react to an “emergency”.
The resolution itself was a complete and undeniable disappointment.
Ukraine had reason to hope for real sanctions: the application to Russia and Belarus of Article 7 of the WHO Constitution, which provides for the deprivation of the country’s right to vote and “other privileges.”
“Other privileges” include the fact that the health ministers of Russia and Belarus hold positions on the WHO Executive Committee and directly influence its policies. They, as representatives of the governments of the states that destroy medicine in Ukraine, should be removed immediately.
But Russia has not received any sanctions other than a portion of concern and condemnation. With a slight majority (88 in favor, 65 abstentions and 30 in the vote), the assembly called for an end to attacks on hospitals and medics, and threatened that if Russia continued, the WHO would consider applying “appropriate” articles of the WHO constitution “.
This decision of the assembly cannot be called anything other than procrastination. The WHO not only did not react to the crimes already committed by Russia, but also gave time for new ones.
International organizations have repeatedly called on Russia to end its aggression. For example, the UN General Assembly demanded this from Russia on March 2, and on March 16
The UN International Court of Justice has legally obliged the country to end the war.
This, as we know, did not help. At the time of the WHO resolution, Russia had not complied with the court’s decision for two months and the UN General Assembly’s decision for almost three months. Most hospitals were destroyed after that. Russia continues the war and shows in every way that it is not going to stop it.
The WHO resolution says it will not apply, but will only “consider” the application of Article 7 if Russia continues to destroy Ukrainian medicine.
The question arises: how long does Russia have to shell our hospitals for the WHO to believe that it continues to do so? There are no deadlines in the text.
However, in January 2023, WHO Director-General Tedros Gebreesus (by the way, re-elected by this assembly) must report to the WHO Executive Committee on the implementation of the resolution.
That is, Russia has at least seven more months to devote to the destruction of Ukrainian hospitals. And in the end, Mr. Hebrews will report on it.
By the way, I will report to the Ministers of Health of Russia and Belarus, who will remain members of the WHO Executive Committee. They will also decide whether Russia has taken enough of Ukrainians’ health so that the WHO can finally “consider it.”
During this time, the resolution calls for all member states to increase WHO funding to help Ukraine.
WHO is an ideal structure for aggressor countries. You can destroy the medicine of other countries, but you will remain a full member of the organization.
And other countries will raise money to pay the bill for your destruction. Of course, with an expression of deep concern on his face.
Column – material that reflects only the point of view of the author. The text of the column does not claim to be objective and comprehensive coverage of the topic that is raised in it. The editorial board of Ukrayinska Pravda is not responsible for the accuracy and interpretation of the information provided and acts exclusively as a carrier. The point of view of the UE editorial board may not coincide with the point of view of the author of the column.