Persons, whether military or civilian, who because of trauma, disease or other physical or mental disorder or disability are in need of medical care and who refrain from any act of hostility. For the purposes of protection, these terms also cover maternity cases, new-born babies and other persons who may be in need of immediate medical assistance or care, such as the infirm or expectant mothers, and who refrain from any act of hostility.   They must be respected and protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. The general principle governing treatment of the wounded and sick of any party to the conflict is that they must be treated humanely and given, to the fullest extent practicable and with the least possible delay, the medical care required by their condition.   There must be no distinction among them founded on any grounds other than medical ones.   See Shipwrecked;  





Suggested reading:

SOLF Waldemar A., “Development of the Protection of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked under the Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions”, in Studies and Essays on International Humanitarian Law and Red Cross Principles in Honour of Jean Pictet, Geneva/The Hague, ICRC/M. Nijhoff, 1984, pp. 237-248