JOINT PRESS STATEMENT BY COSATU, NEHAWU & DENOSA
- Expel the Israeli Medical Association from the World Medical Association! Protest tomorrow (Friday, 10 October) in Durban starting at 10h00.
09 October 2014
COSATU and its health sector affiliates NEHAWU (National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union), DENOSA (Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa) and the SA Medical Association (SAMA) join the call for the expulsion of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) from the World Medical Association (WMA). (See below press statement for background information on the call for the expulsion of the IMA from the WMA).
COSATU was one of the first trade unions in the world that endorsed the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. In 2005, with Israel's occupation, human rights abuses, violations of international law and illegal Israeli settlement activity increasing, Palestinians (inspired by the successful boycott and isolation of Apartheid South Africa) called on the international community to support a non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and its companies until Israel complies with international law and respects human rights.
The Palestinian-led and internationally-backed BDS campaign is a practical, non-violent, goal-orientated, focused and strategic campaign to hold the State of Israel accountable to international law and human rights. The BDS campaign is also increasingly supported by (progressive) Israelis. The international isolation of Israel it is hoped will lead to the necessary conditions for a just peace to be negotiated - similar to what occurred in South Africa and brought about a democratic country for all our people
NEHAWU and DENOSA together with other organizations will be holding a protest outside the World Medical Association (WMA) on Friday the 10th of October in Durban at 11h00 at the International Convention Centre (Bram Fisher Road). The protest will be supported by BDS South Africa, Islamic Medical Association, KZN Palestine Solidarity Forum, and we call on all COSATU affiliates to support this protest action.
We call on and trust that the SA Medical Association (SAMA), another one of our COSATU health sector affiliates, in line with the federation’s support for BDS, will raise a motion in conference calling for the expulsion of the Israeli Medical Association
ISSUED JOINTLY BY COSATU, NEHAWU & DENOSA ON 9 OCTOBER 2014
“Steve Biko was an anti-apartheid activist who died in police custody as a result of torture. The failures of the (white) medical community in South Africa at that time finally led to a split in the World Medical Association. The failure of the Medical Association of South Africa and the WMA to clearly stand up for human rights at that time was certainly one of the serious mistakes of these organizations. Steve Biko’s death was one of the critical events that finally led to the isolation of the apartheid regime.” World Medical Association, 07 December 2013
Whereas the IMA’s medical ethics record on torture has been well documented, and the institution has never denounced or seriously confronted the Israeli government on its shameless use of torture;
Whereas the IMA has shown blatant disregard for the ethical issue of medical neutrality, with the IMA unconditionally defending the violations of medical neutrality by the Israeli army in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT);
Whereas the IMA has either contributed directly to maintaining, defending, or justifying oppression and wars, or has stood silently in the face of civilian deaths in the OPT; the killing, harassment and wounding of Palestinian health professionals on duty; and the destruction of the Palestinian health systems — in the OPT as a result of destruction of the infrastructure, the apartheid Wall— all systematic violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention;
Given that all forms of international intervention have failed to force Israel to comply with international law or to end its repression of Palestinians;
Given that direct appeals to the IMA have been unavailing, including those from both local and international health and human rights organisations over many years, and despite a mass of incriminating documentation;
Given that the World Medical Association, responsible for monitoring medical ethics worldwide;
Given that people of conscience in the international community of medical and health professionals and workers shoulder the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through various forms of boycott and sanctions;
In the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, we call on the world medical association to immediately expel the Israeli Medical Association from the WMA unless the IMA unequivocally condemns, distances and actively counter’s Israel’s torture, occupation and apartheid policies.
In the 1980s, following the torture and death of Steve Biko, the WMA ignored appeals by the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid and others to expel the Medical Association of South Africa (MASA) from the WMA. The WMA now has the chance to be on the right side of history by expelling the IMA from the WMA.
Given the above there is a call for the expulsion of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) from the World Medical Association (WMA) until the IMA unequivocally condemns, distances and actively counter’s Israel’s torture, occupation and apartheid policies.
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Fax: +27 11 339-6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456