Introduction to SCORP
The Standing Committee on Refugees and Peace works within the organisation of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association and was founded in 1983 as the global plight of refugees came into the limelight. Its mission was to call attention to the problems displaced people faced as well as participate in relief efforts. The committee members soon realised that these efforts were short term and palliative. Sustainable solutions would have to rest on the prevention of conflicts and human rights abuses. Based on these new resolutions, the Standing Committee on Refugees and Peace was forged in 1994. Refugees, internally displaced people and other vulnerable populations are at an extreme risk of losing health and of having their human rights abused. SCORP is concerned with the problems and needs of refugees and internally displaced people, and works for the prevention of conflicts, the main reason why people are forced to become refugees. Sustainable solutions of the problems for refugees will have to rest on the prevention of conflict and human rights abuses. SCORP condemns any use of violence as a conflict solution. SCORP works for a peaceful world.SCORP understands peace as, person to person, group to group, state to state, having international solidarity, tolerance and respect for human rights.
Introduction to SCORP topics
In today’s world there are about 11 million refugees, who face tremendous hardships like (political) persecution, human rights violations, torture, war and armed conflicts. Medical students can, as future doctors, improve the mental, social and physical well being of refugees by raising awareness of their fate and by improving their living standards in refugee camps or centres. This is why medical students can and should play a role in the global refugee effort. Unfortunately, the current medical curriculum has a minimum of teaching about refugees. Therefore, SCORP also aims at the implementation of teaching on refugees in the medical education.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. Unfortunately, to this day a lot of people in the world still face human rights violations. These violations can range from being denied the right to education, to assemble or to shelter to the horrible violations of being tortured, given an unfair trial or sentenced to death. As future doctors, we need to know what human rights are, how to protect them and how not to violate them. This is why SCORP organises workshops on human rights and why we aim at the implementation of human rights education in the medical curriculum.
War and armed conflicts have an enormous impact on mental and physical health. From the medical preventive perspective it is very important to try to limit not only the consequences of war and armed conflict, but also prevent it from happening. For instance: physicians are needed to treat the people who got injured by a landmine. Is it then not only logical that physicians also promote disarmament to prevent future victims?
Racism and intolerance
These topics are intertwined with all of the above. Racism and intolerance can lead to human rights violations if you are not allowed the same rights as others; racism can lead to a conflict, which can make people become refugees. Racism starts often very small and seems innocent, but beware that no prejudices take control in our minds.
SCORP Aims and Objectives
• To learn about the problems that refugees, internally displaced people and other vulnerable
• To collaborate with NGOs in establishing projects for medical students to work in international refugee camps.
• To educate students and professionals in the health care system about refugees’, internally displaced people’s and other vulnerable populations’ health.
• To spread awareness – and educate health care professionals in human rights and violations.
• To speak and act for peaceable conflict solutions and discuss and learn about conflict prevention.
• To establish and develop multidisciplinary co-operation in matters of refugees, peace-culture building, conflict prevention and human rights.
SCORP aims at raising awareness among medical students and the general public about refugees and the threats that human rights violations, conflicts and modern warfare pose to health by means of information campaigning, exhibitions and workshops. SCORP also organises projects in refugee camps, thus giving students a chance to better sense the costs of war and displacement. Through its participation in the Peace Test project and the Peer Education program of the IFMSA, SCORP is taking an active part in the instillation of a culture of peace. The topics SCORPions are working on are very broad, and can be applied to any region from all over the world. In name of SCORP medical students made several exhibitions (on landmines, earthquakes and Hiroshima), several workshops (on human rights, medicine and war, refugees, children and war, right to health), many lectures, and much more. SCORP topics could also include racism and the fight against discrimination, child rights, women’s rights (in co-operation with the Standing Committee on Reproductive Health including AIDS) and anything else YOU feel is important. SCORP gives you the opportunity to speak out against injustice and to change the world for a healthier tomorrow.
Learn more about SCORP and its international events at: http://www.ifmsa.org/Activities/Standing-Committees/Human-Rights-and-Peace