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Legal Aspects of “Medical Neutrality”

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Chapter Summary

International humanitarian law (IHL) attaches strict conditions to the recognition of institutions as "medical aid workers". The term neutrality is used in all kind of circumstances, by states, international organizations and individuals. The prohibition against discrimination on other than medical grounds approximates the closest to what could be called "neutrality" in the care of the wounded and sick. Every civilian can, in the case of an armed conflict, find him/herself confronted with the need to care for sick or wounded persons. Author's final point concerns the use of the red cross or any other recognized protective emblems. Any new legislative development in this area should uphold the principles that the use such protective emblems must remain subject to restrictions (unrestricted use leads to the loss of protection) and must be subject to supervision: unchecked use will entail the loss of recognition and, with that, of protection.

Keywords: armed conflict; Aspects; International humanitarian law (IHL); International Red Cross; medical aid workers; medical neutrality



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