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Report of the 4th ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical Dilemmas in Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Missions and Conflict


4th ICMM Workshop on Military Medical Ethical
Dilemmas in Disaster Relief,
Humanitarian Missions and Conflict

Lilienberg, Switzerland

24-26 April, 2014




The 4th Workshop on Military Ethics in Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Missions and Conflict was organized from the 24th to the 26th of April 2014 in Lilienberg, Ermatingen, Switzerland.

The workshop was organized by the ICMM Reference Centre for Education of International Humanitarian Law and Ethics and by the Medical Services Directorate of the Swiss Armed Forces.

The Scientific coordination was performed by Dr. Phil Daniel MESSELKEN and Major David WINKLER, MD, PhD.

The beautiful environment of the Bodensee and the very warm and sunny weather promoted the active participation of all the persons who attended the workshop.

The workshop started on Thursday the 24th of April with a session on Medical Neutrality in theory and practice. Brig Gen (Dr) M.K. PASHA from Bangladesh, gave his experience as a Medical Officer. This very practical presentation of experiences was a very good start for the discussions which will follow later on during the workshop.

You can find the abstracts of the different presentation by clicking on this link.

During the afternoon of the 24th of April 2014, discussion sessions in syndicate were organized about ethical and legal aspects of "age estimation during missions". This was a request of the workgroup on dentistry in COMEDS a year ago. The discussions sessions were first introduced by Andreas SCHMELING on the medical aspects, Johan CROUSE on the legal aspects and Daniel MESSELKEN on the ethical aspects.

Friday the 25th of April 2014 was a day for "Disaster Bioethics" with Claire CLARINVAL from Switzerland (An ethical framework guiding humanitarian actors in their decision-making process), Cécile BENSIMON from Canada (Resource allocation in humanitarian and military medicine), Min YU from China (A case study: medical ethical issues in earthquake relief by Chinese Armed Forces), Sheena M. Eagan CHAMBERLIN from USA (Ethical issues in Civilian Medical assistance programs in the US military) and Peter SCHABER from Switzerland (Is there an unconditional duty of assistance?) with a remarquable thesis: the ICRC can do wrong in humanitarian aid if they stick to much to their ‘neutrality, impartiality,…”.

Saturday the 26th of April 2014 was dedicated to e-learning in MME education.

As always, accommodation was perfect, as were the meals. However, two times a day a full warm meal could be a little too much for the weight of most of the participants.

The welcome at the airport and the transport from and to the airport are well organized by the Swiss Armed Forces.