Medical Ethics in Times of War and Insurrection: Rights and Duties
Journal of Medical Humanities. 1993 Fall; 14(3): 137-147.
In this paper I shall take the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols as my point of departure and link these with the International Declaration of Human Rights as a statement of faith and of aspirations....The second part of my paper will focus on medical morality with brief reference to various languages of moral discourse and to differences in conceptual logic which underpin debates on duties and rights with particular reference to the circumstances of conflict. While acknowledging the value of talking of rights as primary I shall also suggest that the shift away from discourse on duties and obligations as primary undermines the likelihood of super-erogatory moral action. I shall conclude by emphasizing the centrality of acceptance by the State and the military of their duty to the injured and to medical personnel caring for them, if man's inhumanity to man, particularly evident during times of war, is to be kept out of our concern for each other as human beings even when nations are pitted against each other in the ongoing, but hopefully not eternal, struggle for material and ideological power.
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