International Summer School on Human Rights and Peace
By Nira Nirmalathas / Photo by Salomé Olsson
“When society faces challenges and difficulties, the support of human rights often diminishes. We, as future physicians, have the responsibility to advocate for our patients’ rights in accordance with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and medical ethics. Our mission to do so never changes. However, the environment in which we live and work calls for new tools to advocate and defend access to health care and the right to health.”
With these words, Anna Theresia Ekman and Hana Awil, both medical students at Karolinska Institutet, decided to arrange SCORP Camp 2015. With the help of 30 other hardworking members in the Organising Committee and volunteers from all over Sweden, this was made possible!
SCORP Camp is IFMSA’s largest annual international summer school on Human Rights and Peace, with previous editions hosted in Jordan and Slovakia. This year 80 students from all over the world gathered in Barnens Ö , Stockholm, to discuss, enhance knowledge and empower themselves to be able to speak up for patients, the right to health care and society.
But wait… you might be wondering – what is IFMSA?
IFMSA stands for International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and was founded in 1951. It is now one of the world’s oldest and largest student-run organisations with currently 129 National Member Organisations from 121 countries. IFMSA represents over one million medical students and is recognised to be their global voice. As a non-governmental organization it is recognised by international institutions such as the world health organisation (WHO) and United Nations.
IFMSA contains six different standing commitees, working with public health, exchanges, sexual health, human rights etc. SCORP stands for Standing Commitee Of Human Rights and Peace and this is where the name of the summer school comes from.
So during 23-28 August, 80 students from all over the world including Iran, Mexico, UK, Egypt, Taiwan and many more, gathered in Barnens Ö, Stockholm with the hope to learn more about human rights and promote their implementation around the world.
The theme of this year’s SCORP Camp was ”Access of Healthcare” with sessions, panel discussions and sessions exploring the fundamental human right to health. The summer school mainly consisted of four parallel training sessions: Training New Trainers, Training New Human Rights Trainers, International Peer Education Training, and “Human Rights for Medical Practitioners: Advanced Training in Human Rights and Ethical Principles in Clinical Settings.”
The aim is to give health professionals the tools to advocate for the rights of their patients and strengthen future physicians’ commitments towards Human Rights.
During the evenings, the participants got to experience Swedish traditions. Everything from celebrating Swedish midsummer (even though it was August) and having a traditional themed ”sittning”, to spending the evening in Stockholm visiting the Royal Palace, Old City and the Nobel Museum. They also played the traditional Swedish game ”Brännboll”, swam in the lake, experienced the sauna, listened to talks and enjoyed the National Food and Drink Party!
“What struck me most during my time at SCORP Camp was how amazing it was to see so many people from different parts of the world all with the same drive and motivation to see human rights upheld in every corner of the world. Despite our perceived outward differences, when it comes to advocating and defending access to health care and the right to health we all spoke the same language.”, says Ugonna Nwankpa from United Kingdom, participant at SCORP Camp 2015.
SCORP Camp eventually drew to an end, leaving everyone sad yet inspired and full of energy to go back to their countries and advocate for Human Rights and Peace.
For more information about SCORP Camp:
Facebook: SCORP Camp – Sweden 2015
For more information about IFMSA:
*IFMSA Stockholm is open to all students at KI (regardless if you are a medical student or not). Most of the projects are in Swedish except IIMC (Institute for Indian Mother and Child) and SOGH (Swedish Organisation for Global Health) which is open for everyone, including English-speakers!