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Attacking health: The end of International Humanitarian Law?

Years of attacks on civilians, health facilities and healthcare workers in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and the Central African Republic have demonstrated the challenges of implementing international humanitarian law and getting warring parties to adhere.
When Mar 16, 2018
from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
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Does the unprecedented rate and frequency of attacks on health and
facilities globally signify the end of International Humanitarian Law?
Why have our global legal frameworks been unable to protect places of
care and those who serve in them?

We are pleased to welcome a distinguished panel from medicine, media,
international law and politics to discuss recent events in Eastern
Ghouta, Syria and their implications for humanitarian affairs and


For anyone interested in international law, development and the Middle
East this is a must see event!



For the past twenty three years David has taken unpaid leave each year
to work for the aid agencies Médecins Sans Frontières, the
International Committee of the Red Cross and Syria Relief. He has
provided surgical treatment to the victims of conflict and catastrophe
in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Chad,
Darfur, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Pakistan,
Libya, Syria, Central African Republic, Gaza and Nepal. As well as
treating victims of conflict and catastrophe and raising hundreds of
thousands of pounds for charitable causes, David teaches advanced
surgical skills to local medics and surgeons when he is abroad. In
London, he teaches the Definitive Surgical Trauma Skills (DSTS) and
Surgical Training for the Austere Environment (STAE) courses at the
Royal College of Surgeons. In 2015 David established the David Nott
Foundation with his wife Elly. The Foundation will support surgeons to
develop their operating skills for warzones and austere environments.


Hamish de Bretton-Gordon is Managing Director CBRN at Avon Protection,
the recognized global market leader in respiratory protection system
technology specializing primarily in Military, Law Enforcement,
Firefighting, and Industrial. He is also a director of the NGO 'Doctors
Under Fire' and an advisor to the Syrian Medical charity UOSSM. Hamish
served 23 years in the British Army including service as Commanding
Officer of the UK CBRN Regiment and NATO's Rapid Reaction CBRN
Battalion. His operational deployments included the 1st Gulf War,
Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (multiple tours) and Afghanistan (2 tours)
and has been in Syria & Iraq frequently in the last 3 years. This
considerable experience in the field places Hamish as one of the world's
leading and most current experts in chemical and biological counter
terrorism and warfare, and in 2005 he was appointed an OBE for his
exceptional performance. Hamish joined Avon in 2014 from SecureBio Ltd
which he founded 5 years ago. He has worked with the Kurdistan Regional
Government in Northern Iraq to decontaminate Halabja, and has most
recently provided guidance to civilians, UK Government and the
international community on safety round chemical weapon use in Syria and
Iraq. Hamish has worked in Syria during the current conflict advising UK
based charity Syria Relief and UOSSM on treating the victims of chemical
weapons attacks and collation of evidence. He advises the Peshmerga on
CBRN matters trained them on a number of occasions recently to counter
the ISIL chemical attacks in N Iraq. Hamish is probably the leading
expert on ISIL CBRN capabilities and plans. He also travels regularly to
Iraq and other Middle and Far Eastern countries advising on CBRN Counter
Terrorism. Today Hamish gives advice to senior UK Government and
military members on CBRN and Syria, and is frequently seen on global
news channels providing expert commentary, and writes in UK, Middle East
and US news journals. He helps Bear Grylls write his new fiction
adventure series; Ghostflight, the first of the trilogy was published in
Jul 15 and Burning Angels the second in Jul 16, both are international


Toby Cadman is an international law specialist and co-founder of
Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers [11]. He has extensive
experience in the fields of public international law, war crimes, human
rights, terrorism and extradition law. Toby's particular area of
expertise is international legal obligations and the UN system of
protection. He has served as counsel in a number of high profile
international cases, appearing before the International Criminal Court,
the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the
International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh, the European Court of Human
Rights, the Bosnian War Crimes Chamber and the UN Human Rights
Committee. He is member of the Bar of England and Wales and the
co-founder Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, President of the
International Forum for Democracy and Human Rights and the Founding
Partner of the TMC Advisory Group. Toby lectures extensively on
international humanitarian law, criminal procedure and human rights law
and has provided extensive advice and training to judges, prosecutors
and defence lawyers throughout the Balkans and Southeast Asia.


Dr Saleyha Ahsan is on the front line of medicine, currently working as
an emergency medicine doctor in Bangor Hospital, North Wales. She also
works as a humanitarian doctor in conflict zones and has been studying
and following the targeting of healthcare in war since the 1990s. This
work has taken her to Kashmir, Palestine, Libya and Syria.She's a former
British Army Captain who served in Bosnia, as part of the Nato
Stabilisation Force as a medical support officer. It was there she was
inspired to retrain as a doctor. Saleyha has a Masters degree in
International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and works as a freelance
filmmaker and journalist reporting on international stories,
particularly global health as well as on healthcare in the UK. Saleyha
featured in Panorama's Saving Syria's Children observing the life of
medics and their patients during the war in 2013. She contributes to the
Guardian's Comment is Free pages in matters relating to conflict,
health, civil liberties and humanitarian law. She is a founding member
of Doctors Under Fire and the Phoenix Foundation and she is proud to be
a trustee for Internews Europe and the Frontline Freelance Register.


The Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen O'Brien is a British statesman who has recently
completed his term as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. After serving as
a Conservative MP and in various shadow ministerial roles, he was
appointed the Prime Minister's Envoy and UK Special Representative to
the Sahel in Africa, and later on United Nations Emergency Relief
Coordinator, leading the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs. As the world's leading advocate for crisis-affected people, he
argued for compliance and accountability under International
Humanitarian law and unimpeded access to people in need. His
responsibilities included oversight of all UN humanitarian operations
globally, and leadership of coordination mechanisms between UN agencies
and other partners. In recognition of his leadership and achievements in
humanitarian and development work, Stephen was awarded a Knighthood
(KBE) in June 2017.

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