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Perilous Medicine

October 25, 2021

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

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Austin Hall; 101 Classroom - East

More than 150 years ago, the first Geneva Convention obliged that wounded and sick combatants of all parties be collected and cared for and that belligerents protect and respect ambulances and military hospitals. Over time, the law extended protections to wounded and sick civilians and required parties to take numerous affirmative measures to protect health workers, hospitals, ambulances, and patients. These laws and their underlying norms are among the most widely accepted elements of international law. Yet the persistence and severity of violence against health-care personnel, transports, and buildings in war not only constitutes widespread noncompliance with the law but suggests that competing, sometimes unarticulated, norms are employed to rationalize the violence. Based on his new book, Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War, Professor Len Rubenstein will discuss how the competing norm — that harm to hospitals and health workers is (purportedly) morally acceptable if needed to win a just war more quickly than otherwise would be the case — plays out today in the logics of violence against health care. He will consider efforts at the global level to prevent violence and hold perpetrators to account, why those efforts to date have failed, and what could be done going forward.

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October 25, 2021, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

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