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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
16 May 2013

Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian
territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the
occupied Syrian Golan

At the request of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Director-General has the honour to transmit to the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly the attached report by the Ministry of Health of the Syrian Arab Republic (see Annex).


Syrian Arab Republic

Ministry of Health


1. The health conditions of the Syrian population in the occupied Golan continue to deteriorate, as a result of the suppressive practices of the Israeli occupation. That is manifested in Syrians being deprived of medical treatment for rejecting Israeli citizenship, as well as the acute shortage of primary and tertiary health care services owing to the lack of integrated medical centres in the occupied Syrian Golan.

2. Added to this is the suffering of Syrian detainees in Israeli occupation prisons, who continue to be held in inhuman conditions of detention. Consequently, they are exposed to a number of serious diseases and permanent disabilities such as blindness, hepatic inflammation, severe gastric inflammation, spinal cord pain, and several other truly life-threatening ailments. Furthermore, Arab and Syrian detainees continue to be used for testing medicines, and are brutally tortured and coerced into confessing crimes they never committed. Prisoners are also injected with dangerous viruses that cause them to develop diseases and disabilities, even with a fatal outcome, as happened to the martyr Hayel Abou Zeid.

3. We also wish to draw the attention of the World Health Organization to the fact that the Israeli occupation authorities are continuing to bury nuclear waste in more than 20 sites, as well as more than 1500 barrels of radioactive and toxic materials dumped in secret landfills in the occupied Syrian Golan territories. Moreover, the Israeli authorities persist in planting the ceasefire line with nuclear and radioactive landmines, the hazardous consequences and negative impact of which on human health are well known, as they cause combined pollution of the soil and groundwater. Such practices constitute in themselves the crime of violating all international and humanitarian conventions and treaties, and they also represent flagrant aggression against the Syrian people under occupation.

4. As such, the Ministry of Health in the Syrian Arab Republic holds the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for any environmental or health-related complications in the Golan villages resulting from the burial of toxic wastes.

5. We have cited above graphic examples of the unethical practices of the Israeli occupation authorities, which only serve to highlight the inability of the international community to undertake its role in relation to the rights of Syrian citizens in the occupied Golan. The said authorities persist in carrying out heinous practices that violate basic human rights, specifically the right to health. The Israeli authorities continue to prevent Syrian patients from seeking medical treatment and deny preventive medical services to vulnerable categories, namely newborns, infants, children under five, pregnant women and older persons.

6. We therefore call upon the World Health Organization as the lead organization in health affairs at the global level to intervene immediately and take effective measures to end inhuman Israeli practices that target the health of Syrian citizens. We also call upon WHO to exert pressure on the occupying authorities to establish integrated medical facilities – a long-standing request of ours – so as to provide health care services to Syrian citizens in the occupied Golan and lift the ban imposed on the Golan territory and people, using all available means.

7. We further stress our previous request concerning the establishment of integrated medical centres in the occupied Syrian Golan villages, and the importance that the World Health Organization creates an appropriate and urgent mechanism to provide regular and accessible medical services to Syrian citizens in the Golan; and that it exerts pressure on the occupying forces to allow the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide medical services, after international organizations, specifically the World Health Organization, failed to gain access to the occupied Syrian Golan and establish medical facilities in the Golan.

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