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Promoting Access to Health Care in ‘Other Situations of Violence’

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Time to Reignite the Debate on International Regulation

In the last ten years or so, the international community has seen an increase in the suppression of revolutionaries or insurrectionists by authoritarian regimes. There has also been a growing urbanisation of violence, in which gangs infiltrate urban societies due to a lack of provision of State services. This landscape of violence continually morphs from one dominated by armed conflicts (to which international humanitarian law (ihl) applies) to one that increasingly involves ‘other situations of violence’ which fall short of the threshold of armed conflict (and which are not regulated by ihl). These ‘other situations of violence’, whilst wildly disparate in many ways, share the tragedy (also shared with armed conflict) of the impediments they place on access to health care by those left vulnerable as a result of the breakdown of domestic legal order. This paper reviews existing laws and principles, which could apply to ‘other situations of violence’ such as those found in ihl and human rights law. It makes the case that an international framework could have a stronger presence in the regulation of ‘other situations of violence’, in order to ensure the protection of those who need it most.

Affiliations: 1: International Humanitarian Law Officer with Australian Red Cross and a PhD Candidate of the tc Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland; 2: Regional Legal Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross, Kuala Lumpur


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