University of Minnesota

World Medical Association, Resolution on Medical Care for Refugees (1998).


Adopted by the 50th World Medical Assembly
Ottawa, Canada, October 1998


WHEREAS: Recent international and civil conflicts have resulted in a steady increase of the number of refugees in all regions; and
WHEREAS: International codes of human rights and medical ethics, including the WMA Declaration of Lisbon, declare that all people are entitled without discrimination to appropriate medical care;
1. Physicians have a duty to provide appropriate medical care regardless of the civil status of the patient, and governments should not deny patients the right to receive, nor should they interfere with physicians' obligation to administer, adequate treatment; and
2. Physicians can not be compelled to participate in any punitive or judicial action involving refugees or to administer any non-medically justified diagnostic measure or treatment, such as sedatives to facilitate easy deportation from the country; and
3. Physicians must be allowed adequate time and sufficient resources to assess the physical and psychological condition of refugees who are seeking asylum.

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