Declaration of Geneva

The Declaration of Geneva is an oath for physicians that was first adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948. It can be viewed as a response to the participation of physicians in crimes against humanity in Nazi Germany.

By: Knut W. Ruyter, 2018

The World Medical Association needed to oject to physicians' participation in reprehensible health services and grossly unethical medical experiments and to state clearly what physicians should comply with, also as an insurance to all in need of the knowledge and services of the medical stand.

The oath requires, for example, that physicians do not use their knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity. It is worth noting that the Oath was adopted by the World Medical Association only a few months before the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Below is the full text of the Declaration of Geneva. See the Norwegian pages for a Norwegian translation.

English text of the Declaration of Geneva

The Physician's Pledge


I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;

THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;

I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;

I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;

I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

I WILL PRACTISE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;

I WILL FOSTER the honour and noble traditions of the medical profession;

I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues, and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;

I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;

I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;

I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;

I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.

This article has been translated from Norwegian by Cristina Pulido Ulvang, Akasie språktjenester AS.



WMA Declaration of Geneva – WMA – The World Medical Association