Amid the gloom, coronavirus points to new definitions of ‘security’: statement from Medical Association for Prevention of War

Update 17 April 2020: Sign the IPAN statement on healthcare not warfare.

Many people are in very challenging circumstances right now. All of us at MAPW hope that you and your family are coping with the unparalleled disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MAPW has of course cancelled our fundraising and campaign events until further notice, but our staff and volunteers continue to work from home.

We continue to advocate on our key issues – abolishing nuclear weapons, and the use of human and technical resources for the welfare of people and our environment – and are responding to developing issues at home and abroad.

We are concerned about reports of critical shortages of essential protective and clinical equipment, and predicted staff and supply shortages around the country. Remote Aboriginal communities, and refugees and asylum seekers, could be among the groups at particular risk.

Abroad, we are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on people in conflict zones and refugee settings, and with the effect of punitive US sanctions on Iran’s ability to respond to the pandemic.

We’re also looking ahead.

A crisis of this scale has the potential to dramatically reorder society. Governments have long told us that our ‘security’ comes from our military: worldwide, 1,800 billion dollars a year is spent on armies and equipment with which to fight wars.

But in this global crisis, it’s healthcare workers – not soldiers – who are on the frontlines, and it’s clear that the true security of our community depends on a commitment to health and welfare for all. Our task at MAPW is to translate this new awareness into a fundamental reimagining of Australia’s notions of ‘security’.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and for your enduring support of MAPW.

Wherever you are today, please take care.

In peace,


Dr Sue Wareham | President

25 March 2020

See also: article by Dr Wareham in Pearls and Irritations.

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