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NZNO condemns violence against health workers in Middle East

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 19 October 2023

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) condemns all acts of terrorism and violence against civilians occurring in the Israel-Palestine conflict and says both sides must respect and protect access to health care and ensure the safety of civilians and health workers.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says health workers are continuing to deliver emergency medical care in the conflict areas with no regard to ethnicity, race, religion or political affiliation. But they are being put at enormous risk by doing so and tragically, many have been injured or killed.

“International humanitarian law is really clear that access to health care is a human right, and that health services and workers must never be a target for bullets and bombs.

“Unfortunately thousands are being injured and killed, and in particular we condemn the bombing of al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza which has left so many wounded and dead.

“It is the vulnerable, the children, the elderly and the infirm who pay the highest price in any war, and this Is made a greater horror when the very institutions bringing safety and healing are attacked. It’s barbarous and an absolute disgrace.”

Ms Nuku says she also wants to express the solidarity of New Zealand nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora with their counterparts in the Middle East.

“The nursing crisis is worldwide and we are sure these health workers were already struggling before this conflict began. We can only image the extent of death and injury, and the soul-destroying suffering they do their best to deal with every day.

“These courageous and compassionate workers need to be left to do their jobs without fearing their own and their patients’ lives and wellbeing.

“NZNO stands with its brave colleagues in both Israel and Palestine and hopes for a swift end to the violence, the destruction and the intolerable suffering of the innocent.”


Media enquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617 |

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