Even as they were making countless sacrifices during the pandemic, health workers were targeted in 1,100+ attacks last year, according to a new report by Insecurity Insight and the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center.
~800 of the attacks were related to conflicts—hospitals bombed in Yemen, doctors abducted in Nigeria, according to the research.
Disturbing New Twist: ~400 attacks were directly tied to the pandemic, Physicians for Human Rights notes, including:
- Threats, beatings, and attacks with stones or hot liquids
- Violent reactions to mask requirements
- Arson of COVID-19 testing facilities
Pandemic-triggered violence was especially pronounced in India and Mexico, but it is a “truly global crisis,” affecting 79 countries, said Insecurity Insight’s Christina Wille, who led development of a new interactive map.
Pandemic year 1 failures need to be replaced with immediate action to safeguard health workers, said Leonard Rubenstein, chair of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition. He highlights recommendations in a companion research brief:
- Counter disinformation
- End repression against health workers who speak up
- More protection for health workers
- Hold perpetrators accountable