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Johns Hopkins Expert: Attacks on Ukrainian Hospitals are War Crimes

March 2, 2022
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu jhunews@jhu.edu
Jamie Smith
410-614-5381
jamie.smith@jhu.edu

Violence against hospitals, patients, doctors, and other health workers such as those now taking place during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, destroy lives and the capacity of health systems to tend to those in need, combatant and civilian alike, according to Johns Hopkins University human rights expert Leonard Rubenstein, author of the recently published Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War.

“There is credible evidence that Russia has attacked at least three hospitals in Ukraine, and there are reports of others. These war crimes are part of a pattern of Russian conduct, which has included bombing many hospitals in its war in Chechnya two decades ago, as well as multiple hospitals in the ongoing war in Syria,” said Rubenstein, a lawyer who has investigated atrocities against health workers around the world. “Violence against hospitals, doctors, and other health workers undermines long-standing values and laws designed to ensure that sick and wounded people receive care.”

Rubenstein can also discuss how Russia’s actions are part of a growing global pattern of attacks against health workers, as political and military leaders evade their legal obligations to protect health care in war, punish doctors and nurses for adhering to their professional responsibilities, and fail to hold perpetrators to account.

Rubenstein is a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, as well as the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health and Human Rights. His work focuses on health and human rights, particularly the protection of health in armed conflict and the roles of health professionals in human rights.

To arrange an interview with Rubenstein, please contact Jamie Smith, jamie.smith@jhu.edu or Jill Rosen, jrosen@jhu.edu.

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