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News | Monday, 12. November 2012

Leopoldina’s Human Rights Committee helps Syrian doctors and paramedics

Violence is escalating in Syria, and it is also targeted at doctors and other people caring for the wounded. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is helping doctors and medical staff in the country as well as calling for basic human rights to be upheld. In cooperation with a large number of university hospitals in Germany, the HRC is organising medical assistance for seriously wounded Syrian medical personnel. Doctors at University Hospital Tübingen recently began treating a Syrian paramedic who lost a hand and received other serious injuries while attempting to deliver medical supplies to the civilian population in the town of Ranqus.

“It is a question of humanity and solidarity to help doctors, nurses and paramedics and their families when they run the risk of being badly injured or killed just because they are providing medical care to sick or injured rebels,” said Prof. Hans-Peter Zenner, chairman of the Leopoldina’s HRC and medical director and board member of the University Department of Otolaryngology, Tübingen.

Waleed Dimaschq*, aged 28, was seriously wounded in late January 2012 when he and a friend were trying to deliver medical supplies to the civilian population of Ranqus, which was under attack at the time. The regime’s security forces fired deliberately at the men’s van, killing Dimaschq’s friend. Dimaschq survived the attack, but was badly wounded by shrapnel. Opponents of the regime took him across the border to Jordan. He was subsequently taken to Tübingen with the assistance of the German Federal Foreign Office. He is receiving medical care at the university hospital and is to be fitted with an artificial arm and hand.

The University Hospital Tübingen has promised to provide Dimaschq with comprehensive medical care. It would be very grateful for all donations that enable it to cover some of the costs, particularly those of the artificial limb. Donations can be made by bank transfer to the account of the Rotary-Gemeindienst e.V. at Kreissparkasse Reutlingen (account number 580 90, bank code 640 500 00).

The Leopoldina is a member of the International Human Rights Network (IHRN) of academies and societies of scholars, which aims to help persecuted scientists. It set up its own Human Rights Committee to deal with human rights and bioethical issues in science.

* Name changed

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