Call to Governments

A Call to All Governments: Work Together Now to Stop Cyberattacks on the Healthcare Sector

May 26, 2020 in Geneva

We call on the world’s governments to take immediate and decisive action to stop all cyberattacks on hospitals, healthcare and medical research facilities, as well as on medical personnel and international public health organizations. To this end, governments should work together, including at the United Nations, to reaffirm and recommit to international rules that prohibit such actions.

Over the past weeks, we have witnessed attacks that have targeted medical facilities and organizations on the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions have endangered human lives by impairing the ability of these critical institutions to function, slowing down the distribution of essential supplies and information, and disrupting the delivery of care to patients. With hundreds of thousands of people already perished and millions infected around the world, medical care is more important than ever. This will not be the last health crisis. For now and for the future, governments should assert in unequivocal terms: cyber operations against healthcare facilities are unlawful and unacceptable.

We don’t tolerate attacks on health infrastructure in the physical world, and we must not tolerate such attacks in cyberspace – whether in times of peace or in times of conflict. We stand with the International Committee of the Red Cross in support of its call to protect medical services and medical facilities against cyberattacks of any kind. We call on governments to work together and to join forces with civil society and the private sector to ensure that medical facilities are respected and protected, and to hold perpetrators accountable. Above all, governments should take action and stop cyberattacks on hospitals and medical facilities.

The time to act is now.


Dapo Akande, Professor of Public International Law, University of Oxford

Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State, United States

José María Álvarez-Pallete López, Chairman & CEO, Telefónica

Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary General of the United Nations

Lakhdar Brahimi, Former Foreign Minister, Algeria

John Bruton, Former Taoiseach, Ireland

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Former President, Brazil

Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, United States

Margaret Chan, Former Director-General, World Health Organization

Eva Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Trend Micro

Stephane Duguin, Chief Executive Officer, CyberPeace Institute

Mohamed ElBaradei, Former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Mikhail Gorbachev, Former President, Soviet Union (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)*

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Director General, World Health Organization

Richard J. Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

Zhixiong Huang, Professor of International Law, Wuhan University

Igor Ivanov, Former Foreign Minister, Russia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President, Liberia (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Eugene Kaspersky, Chief Executive Officer, Kaspersky

Khoo Boon Hui, Former President, INTERPOL

Larry Kramer, President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Ricardo Lagos, Former President, Chile

Doris Leuthard, Former President of the Swiss Confederation

Adrian Lovett, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Web Foundation

Susana Malcorra, Former Foreign Minister, Argentina

Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross

Daniel Mitov, Former Foreign Minister, Bulgaria

Eduardo Montealegre, Former Foreign Minister, Nicaragua

Marty Natalegawa, Former Foreign Minister, Indonesia

Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Infosys

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Finance Minister, Nigeria

Maia Panjikidze, Former Foreign Minister, Georgia

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Sir Richard J. Roberts, Chief Scientific Officer, New England Biolabs (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine)

Francesco Rocca, President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Julio María Sanguinetti, Former President, Uruguay

Juan Manuel Santos, Former President, Colombia (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation

Marietje Schaake, Former Member of the European Parliament

Michael Schmitt, Professor of International Law, University of Reading, United States

Wendy Sherman, Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, United States

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft

Helle Thorning Schmidt, Former Prime Minister, Denmark

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Danilo Türk, Former President, Slovenia

Lech Wałęsa, Former Polish President (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Sir Graham Watson, Former Member of the European Parliament, UK

Jonathan Winer, Former U.S Special Envoy for Libya; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Law Enforcement at the U.S Department of State

Harold F. Wolf III, Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Ernesto Zedillo, Former President, Mexico

*In signing this Statement, I also urge the convening of the special session of the UN General Assembly to discuss cessation of armed conflicts and reduction of military budgets. Mikhail Gorbachev

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