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The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), including our board, management, staff, and stakeholders, are keenly aware of the inherent responsibility for socially responsible behavior. SAMS is committed to the stated objective of social responsibility, namely the continued contribution to sustainable development.
Our mission is dedicated to delivering life-saving services, revitalizing health systems during crisis, and promoting medical education via a network of humanitarians in Syria, the US, and beyond. In pursuit of this mission, SAMS and our partners often operate in active conflict and disaster zones providing and enabling medical relief for affected populations. As a result, we are intimately aware of the vulnerability of the people who make up the communities in which we serve.
In the medical profession, it is inherent to “do no harm” while endeavoring to help those in need of medical attention. For SAMS, this ethos extends to our mission and identity. We must do everything that we can to avoid or limit any potential adverse impacts of our behavior on the communities in which we work. To this end, we have set forth below some of the core values and commitments related to social responsibility that we follow and expect our partners and affiliates to follow to the extent feasible.
Code of Conduct, Ethical Behavior, and Organizational Governance
SAMS strives to conduct our operations around the world in a transparent, law-abiding, humane, and accountable manner. Our organization is lead by an elected board, which is comprised of doctors who are dedicated to ensuring the efficient, effective, and ethical pursuit of our mission to deliver medical assistance and training where they are most needed. The board relies on dedicated staff and volunteers around the world, who work hard to help others, often exposing themselves to great personal risk. Everyone at SAMS receives training on our code of conduct, which commits our team to ethical behavior, including:
Observance of legal and contractual obligations in the localities where we work;
Respect for and advocacy of human rights;
Zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior targeting groups or individuals based on prejudice regarding, but not limited to race, color, gender, gender identity, age, language, property, nationality or national origin, religion, ethnic or social origin, caste, economic grounds, disability, pregnancy, belonging to an indigenous people, trade union affiliation, political affiliation or political or another opinion);
Respect for the privacy and dignity of those who receive our assistance;
Respect for local customs, cultures, and traditions; and
A commitment to the sustainable development of the communities in which we work.
In addition to ensuring that our personnel and partners behave ethically, SAMS is committed to advocating for adherence to the international rules and norms that are designed to protect both our staff and the vulnerable populations with whom we work. SAMS cooperates with our partners including local medical staff, NGOs, and the UN to document violations of human rights law (HRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL) in the locations where we provide medical relief and training. For example, since the start of the conflict in Syria, SAMS has documented the persistent targeting of medical personnel and facilities and other civilian infrastructure as well as the repeated use of banned chemical weapons. SAMS advocates adherence to these aspects of international law along with the restoration of access to basic healthcare by those affected by the conflict.
Commitment to Sustainability and Environmental Protection
While our priority is to provide medical assistance and training to those in need as efficiently as possible, SAMS is also keenly aware of the negative impact that unsustainable behavior can have on exacerbating the vulnerability of the populations we serve. Of particular concern, we expect that global climate change will continue to amplify the root causes of conflicts and the effects of natural disasters. With this in mind, SAMS has adopted a firm commitment to the sustainable use of resources where possible in pursuit of our mission.
Job creation and compensation paid for work performed are among an organization’s most important economic and social contributions. Meaningful and productive work is essential to human development. Full and secure employment can help to raise living standards and reduce the potential for social problems. Furthermore, labour practices have a major impact on respect for the rule of law and on the sense of fairness present in society. With these considerations in mind, SAMS strives to engage with local partners where possible to deliver medical services. As part of our mission, we also train and pay the salaries of medical professionals who are located in areas of need and would otherwise not receive adequate training or compensation for their work.
SAMS is committed to adherence to fair operating practices. We strictly prohibit our staff and volunteers to engage or be complicit in bribery and corruption. Additionally, we stress the importance of honest, responsible, and fair relationships between SAMS and public entities and local communities.