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International Humanitarian Law: Are Terrorists Entitled to Medical Treatment in Times of Armed Conflict?

Date:11 July 2016
Author:GHLG Blog
Aspects of International Health Law, which may be found in various documents of International Human Rights Law (HRL) such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (much of the content of which is by now considered customary law), suggest that everyone, including terrorists, are entitled to the right to medical treatment. However, does this right still stand in times of armed conflict when the rules of war come into play? Are terrorists protected under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and, if so, to what extent? While the relevant legal framework does suggest such a protection, harsh domestic counter-terrorism policies pose a significant obstacle to the realization of the right to medical treatment.