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August 4, 1999

War and HealthFrom Solferino to Kosovo—The Evolving Role of Physicians

JAMA. 1999;282(5):479-481. doi:10.1001/jama.282.5.479

In the past century, the world has witnessed ongoing epidemics of armed conflicts and violations of international human rights, epidemics that have devastated and continue to devastate the health and well-being of humanity. Armed conflicts have claimed the lives of more than 100 million people in the 20th century, and increasingly, civilians have become the victims of war and internal conflicts.1 Today, 90% of war-related deaths are civilians.1 Torture, forced disappearance, and political killings are systematically practiced in dozens of countries,2 and more than 100 million land mines threaten the lives and limbs of ordinary people.1 In 1995, 1 in every 200 people in the world was displaced as a result of war or political repression.1