STATEMENT 19 APRIL 2021
We, the undersigned and the organisations we represent, are united in calling for the safe and unconditional release of the President of the Myanmar Emergency Medicine Society, Professor Maw Maw Oo, following his arrest and detention on Monday 12 April 2021.
An integral figure in the Myanmar, and global emergency care community, Professor Maw Maw Oo was arrested and detained while on duty treating patients at the Yangon General Hospital emergency department, where he serves as Director.
Professor Maw Maw Oo is a widely respected figure both in Myanmar and internationally. He is Professor and Head of Emergency Medicine at the University of Medicine (1), Yangon, and at the Yangon General Hospital. In 2020 he was appointed to Emergency Clinical lead for Myanmar’s national and regional COVID-19 response for the country.
He has held numerous other high-profile national, regional and international medical leadership roles, and has played a key role in international, bilateral and multilateral emergency care education and development programs, including national and regional disaster preparedness and response.
His dedication and commitment to the establishment and advancement of emergency medicine in Myanmar as a clinician, educator and leader, as well as his service to the people of his nation is greatly admired in Myanmar, as well as globally.
Our organisations share the same grave concerns for the welfare of Professor Maw Maw Oo as his colleagues in Myanmar, who have not heard from him since his abduction. His ongoing detention represents a critical threat to Myanmar’s emergency medicine and healthcare systems more broadly, and undermines the ability of all healthcare workers to provide emergency care to the citizens of Myanmar.
As members of the global emergency medicine community, we urge Professor Maw Maw Oo’s immediate, safe and unconditional release.
In calling for the safe release of Professor Maw Maw Oo, and safety of all our colleagues in Myanmar, we urge the international community to do all in its power to ensure the upholding of international humanitarian and human rights law, and that peace and democracy is restored to the country.
STATEMENT 21 APRIL 2021
We, the undersigned and the organisations we represent, are united in concern for medical and
nursing colleagues in Myanmar as a result of the military coup and ongoing violence in the country.
As representatives of the global emergency medical community, we condemn the targeting of emergency medical care hospital staff.
The principles of international humanitarian and human rights law which safeguard medical neutrality in situations of conflict must be respected and upheld. The UN Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016) strongly condemns attacks against medical facilities and personnel in conflict situations. Our organisations wish to stress the importance of ensuring the safety and independence of healthcare personnel, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols.
Our colleagues must remain free to serve the essential emergency medical needs of the people of Myanmar. Safe access must be granted to adequate medical facilities for the injured and others in need of medical aid. Medical facilities, medical transport and the people being treated in them must be protected, and the safest possible working environment provided for healthcare workers. Without urgent resolution of these issues, the future of emergency medicine, the country’s emergency care system and health system’s ability to function remains under immense threat.
Our organisations are calling for increased regional and international advocacy to restore a civilian government, to hold the military coup accountable for the blatant targeting of healthcare staff, and to join global ligation action for the contravention of human rights.
Dr Kirsten Johnson
President, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
Dr Annet Alenyo Ngabirano
President, African Federation for Emergency Medicine
Dr John Bonning
President, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
Dr Katherine Henderson
President, Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Professor Tamorish Kole
President, Asian Society for Emergency Medicine
Professor Sally McCarthy
President, International Federation for Emergency Medicine
Professor Edgardo Menendez
President, Federación Latinoamericana de Medicina de Emergencias
Dr Ammar Al-Kashmiri
General Secretary, Gulf Federation of Emergency Medicine
Dr Gary Nou
President, Papua New Guinea Society for Emergency Medicine
Dr Mark Rosenberg
President, American College of Emergency Physicians