CSP chair’s statement on Gaza and Israel

A statement from Ishmael Beckford, chair of CSP Council. 

Ishmael Beckford, chair of the CSP Council has issued the following statement.

'I share the deep concerns expressed by many CSP members about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israel. The attack on Israel by Hamas was an appalling act of terrorism. The subsequent Israeli military action in Gaza is causing a humanitarian crisis. Our thoughts are with all the victims of violence, those taken hostage and their families.

'We are particularly aware of the challenges facing health workers in the region. As a World Physiotherapy member we endorse the statement made by the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA). 

'Physiotherapists in Israel and Palestine will be dealing with the impact of this conflict for years to come as they support the rehabilitation of those injured. We are committed to supporting them.'

Members who want to offer support for humanitarian action in the region may wish to contact one of these organisations: 

7 December 2024 update

In recent weeks some members have raised concerns over Council’s longstanding position of not commenting on conflict in the Middle East. Other members and stakeholders have challenged the appropriateness of the CSP changing its approach.

Today (7 December 2023) Council considered the organisation’s position to conflicts around the World. Following a considered discussion in which Council recognised the strongly held, but varied, views amongst members, and the contextual complexity of many conflicts, Council agreed to adopt the following policy:

To ensure consistency in relation to international conflicts we will presume a position of neutrality and call upon all parties in conflict to respect international law and to do everything possible to protect healthcare workers and their patients.

This is in line with the CSPs previous endorsement of the WHPA statement which said:

'Healthcare workers are delivering emergency medical care in the conflict areas with no regard to ethnicity, race, religion or political affiliation.

'They are putting themselves at enormous risk and we know that tragically many have been injured or killed. All parties to the conflict must adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, namely that under the Geneva Conventions the ill-treatment and killing of civilians is prohibited and the sick and wounded must be cared for.

'WHPA also wishes to underline that under international law it is prohibited to abuse symbols of protection, and that hospitals and other health facilities and vehicles, such as ambulances, must under no circumstance be used as military installations of any kind or means of transportation.

'In line with the humanitarian efforts that should be afforded to all citizens in conflict areas under the Geneva Conventions, WHPA members unanimously support the provision of care without risk to any health personnel. Therefore, WHPA calls for immediate cessation of any acts that risk the lives of civilians or health workers.

'Representing 41 million health professionals around the world, WHPA recognises that access to health is a human right and any attack on health workers and the patients they serve is abhorrent and unacceptable.'


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