WHO chief meets with Syria’s health minister sanctioned for 'violent repression against the civilian population'
Syria Health Minister Hassan Ghabbash is part of a regime that has detained tens of thousands of political opponents and killed hundreds of thousands in a brutal military campaign against the opposition.
Syrian activists pointed out how the Syrian regime and its allies have targeted hospitals and doctors throughout the war.
Detainees are routinely tortured, often to death, and denied basic medical assistance or medicine.
Despite this, Ghebreyesus said in a tweet he met with the Syrian minister recently.
"[We] discuss[ed] the health situation and WHO’s commitment to work together to protect and promote the health of all people in the country. Our duty must be to ensure peace, save lives and provide hope to people in need," he said.
1yr after @WHO elected #Assad's #Syria to its Executive Board, now we have WHO Director General @DrTedros meeting with #Assad's 'Health Minister.'— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) May 31, 2022
Note: Ghabbash is sanctioned by the #UK for "responsibility for the Syrian regime's violent repression of the civilian population." https://t.co/FgF64KXqit
Syria was controversially elected to the WHO’s Executive Board last year, despite the regime's horrifying human rights abuses against its own people.
The New Arab has approached the World Health Organization for comment.
Syria's civil war erupted in 2011 after Bashar al-Assad's regime violently repressed peaceful protests.
It quickly spiralled into an armed uprising.
The war has left around half a million people dead and displaced millions. Most of the casualties have been a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.