Honouring midwives and upholding human rights this IDM

May 1, 2024

May 5 marks the International Day of the Midwife. In recognition of this day, the AOM would like to honour and acknowledge all midwives who uphold the rights and dignity of birthing people and newborns, especially those midwives living and working in crisis situations in areas such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Yemen and Haiti.

This International Day of the Midwife calls on all of us to recognize the immense challenges faced by midwives and birthing individuals in conflict zones across the world. The AOM stands in solidarity with health-care workers and birthing people worldwide whose safety, access to health care and other human rights are being violated. In Gaza, for example, midwives have been identified as a lifeline for pregnant people, despite facing targeted violence while delivering necessary health care in life-threatening conditions. Colonization, Western imperialism, exploitation and systemic oppression have resulted in egregious violations of human rights, including apartheid, genocide, starvation and displacement of people globally. Urgent collective action is needed to dismantle systems that enable and perpetuate violence and to uphold human rights in midwifery, locally and globally. 

All people deserve to live and work free from discrimination including antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism, including anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism, gender-based oppression, homophobia, transphobia and ablism. Midwives are strong advocates for social justice and the rights of all birthing people. Today and always, we must unequivocally stand against genocide and advocate for human rights and justice for all. Reports of intimidation and silencing of Canadian health-care workers who have advocated for a ceasefire in Gaza are deeply troubling. The AOM calls for midwives to be free to advocate for human rights and affirms its commitment to compassion, collective justice and equity for all.

To support relief efforts in these conflict-affected regions, consider donating to organizations such as the Humanitarian Coalition, Red Cross and Red Crescent and UNRWA. Midwives may also sign a letter drafted by Health Workers for Palestine urging the Canadian Government to rectify its discriminatory and inequitable visa procedures and health coverage for Palestinian and Sudanese people, providing similar assistance extended to Ukrainians.