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PHR Denounces Executive Order to Replace Separation of Children with Family Detention

President Trump has signed an Executive Order to end his own administration’s policy of separating migrant and asylum-seeking children from their parents in the face of a massive public outcry and global condemnation. The order calls for children to instead be detained with their families, as part of the administration’s new “zero tolerance” tactic which seeks to prosecute all immigrants who cross the border illegally. To date, more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents.

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Detention Facilities Display Dangerous Trend of Delayed and Inadequate Care

For a doctor, there is nothing harder than seeing a patient with a treatable condition not receiving basic care. I recently met a woman in U.S. immigration detention. She said that although she had notified the corrections staff that she suffered from chronic hypertension, it took four days for her to be given her blood pressure medication. By then she was experiencing stabbing pains in her chest.

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Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

ICC Bemba Ruling Sends Devastating Message to Sexual Violence Survivors

PHR finds the overturning of the conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba to be a devastating setback for the pursuit of justice. This ruling deals a hard blow to the families of the victims of the brutal campaign of sexual violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003. It also unwinds the meaningful work that led up to the first and only conviction for sexual violence at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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A Map of Attacks on Health Care in Syria

When medical workers are killed, the human toll is not just their lives, but also the exponential number of people who will suffer without treatment and the many lives that will be lost as a result. When these attacks on health care become as prolonged and widespread as they have in Syria, the consequences reach far beyond the individuals and facilities lost.

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Rohingya Documentation

Demand Justice for the Rohingya

A team of PHR doctors has been documenting forensic evidence of the beatings, rapes, gunshot wounds, and burns suffered by the Rohingya refugees to corroborate their stories and help them seek justice.

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These Women Were Repeatedly Beaten and Raped. They Deserve U.S. Protection.

Among the hundreds of thousands of people desperately seeking asylum in the United States each year are countless victims of domestic violence trying to escape a life of abuse. They’re often fleeing such extreme situations that they are willing to leave behind everything they know and to risk hardship and danger along the treacherous journey to safety.

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A Victory for Justice in the Congo

In a stunning victory for justice, a Congolese court has convicted 11 men of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison for the rapes of dozens of little girls over a three-year period in the village of Kavumu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Asylum in the United States

Family Separation is Cruel and Unnecessary

PHR welcomes the United Nations’ call for the United States to immediately end its policy of separating families after they cross the U.S.-Mexico border. PHR reiterates that the Trump administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” policy, outlined recently by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, violates the fundamental right of family unity, protected as a constitutional right in the United States, a human right under international human rights law, and affirmed in international refugee law and migration law.

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PHR Joins Call for Myanmar Referral to ICC

PHR joins the voices calling on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to carry out an independent, transparent, and swift investigation into atrocities committed against the Rohingya people, in order to prosecute and bring those accountable to justice.

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Under Attack at Home and Refused Refuge Abroad

Despite horrific conditions in their war-torn home, just 11 Syrian refugees were admitted to the United States this year. Today, the Supreme Court began to review the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s travel ban, a discriminatory policy that endangers the right to seek asylum.

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PHRs statement on the alleged intimidation of Syrian doctors and international teams in Douma

PHR expresses grave concern over reports of intimidation of Syrian medics who are carrying out crucial medical treatment and of investigators who are conducting forensic investigations near the site of an April 7 strike on Douma.

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PHR Reiterates Need for Investigation Before Any Repatriation of Rohingya Refugees

PHR is calling for international investigation, oversight, and protection in the wake of Myanmar’s claim that it has repatriated the first Rohingya refugees from neighboring Bangladesh.

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Guantanamo Detainee Walking in Heat

Letter to U.S. Senators from Health Professionals Urging Opposition to the Nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director

Haspel’s reported role in the CIA’s post-9/11 rendition, detention, and interrogation program raises grave concerns about her qualifications to lead the agency. She has been implicated in supervising the first “black site” in Thailand, where agency personnel tortured detainees using waterboarding and other long-outlawed techniques.

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Douma Chemical Attack

Joint Letter Urging UN Secretary General to Act on Syria

PHR joined 45 other NGOs in signing a letter to the U.N. Secretary General pushing for the activation of an independent investigation to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks in Syria.

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Joint Letter to U.S. Senators Expressing Grave Concerns Over Nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA Director

PHR adds its voice to NGO call for the declassification and public release of all records on Haspel’s involvement in the CIA torture program.

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Physicians for Human Rights Demands Access for All Humanitarian Aid to Besieged Syrian Area

A week after the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2401, demanding an end to hostilities in Syria to ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian convoys, the assault on eastern Ghouta continues and the Syrian authorities have reportedly stripped medical supplies from the only convoy allowed into this besieged area so far.

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Yemen: Attacks on Health February 2018 Newsletter

The Yemeni internal conflict, raging for almost three years, has generated the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. By end 2017, an estimated 50 percent of health care infrastructure had reportedly been destroyed by airstrikes and artillery attacks, and the remaining clinics and hospitals operate with dwindling supplies and personnel that in many cases have not been paid for years.

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Medical and Humanitarian Organizations Use Three Billboards to Call on UN to Stop Violence in Syria

A coalition of medical and humanitarian organizations, some working inside besieged eastern Ghouta, have urged the United Nations Security Council to vote for an immediate cessation of hostilities to allow urgent humanitarian assistance to all areas in need in Syria.

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On International Women’s Day, PHR Demands Accountability for Kenyan Victims of Sexual Violence

As the world observes International Women’s Day and celebrates advances made by women and girls, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is expressing deep concern over the lack of accountability for victims of sexual violence in Kenya.

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PHR Calls on Full Senate to Pass Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today praised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for advancing the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017 (S.2060) and urged the full Senate to pass the bill without delay.

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The Difference Doctors Make

When a human rights crisis leads to a humanitarian disaster, doctors have a dual role to play. In Bangladesh, PHR doctors and volunteer health professionals worked side by side to document and treat atrocities committed against Rohingya refugees.

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Issue Brief: Attacks on Health in Syria

PHR’s issue brief highlights the need for a comprehensive U.S. strategy for Syria that prioritizes civilian protection and welfare as attacks on health and human suffering continue unabated. PHR encourages Congress to call on the Trump administration to deliver on these crucial elements.

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Guantanamo Detainee in Shackles

PHR Condemns Trump Executive Order on Guantánamo Bay Detention Center

President Trump announced during tonight’s State of the Union address that he has reversed President Obama’s 2009 order to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center. Dr. Homer Venters, director of programs at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), issued a statement in response.

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PHR Condemns Threats against Turkish Medical Association

Today in Ankara, two pro-government unions held a press conference denouncing the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) and calling on the government to file charges against the organization. This follows two days of threats of physical violence to TMA staff, some of them identified as coming from a government-recognized civilian militia group.

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Justice is delivered for the children of Kavumu

In an extraordinary and landmark ruling, 11 Congolese militia members were convicted today of crimes against humanity for murder and the rape of 38 young children. The verdict represents a stunning victory for the victims, their families, their community of Kavumu, where the crimes occurred, for the wide array of organizations that mobilized around them, and also for justice in the DRC.

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PHR Joins NGOs in Appeal to the UN Security Council to Act on Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis

In advance of the United Nations Security Council’s December 12 meeting on the situation in Myanmar, we, a global coalition of 81 human rights, faith-based and humanitarian organizations, urgently call on the Council to take immediate action to address the campaign of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocity crimes, including crimes against humanity, committed against the ethnic Rohingya population by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine State, as well as the continuing restrictions on humanitarian assistance throughout the state since October 2016.

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Dr. Jonathan Fine

PHR Remembers its Founder, Dr. Jonathan Fine

Dr. Jonathan Fine (1931-2018), who died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 17, 2018, was the founder and first executive director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). A primary care physician raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, Fine was already a student activist as an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, before going on to receive his medical training at Yale University and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University.

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Parents of Congolese Child Rape Victims Testify in Landmark Trial

The parents of a group of little Congolese girls who were savagely raped during a three-year reign of terror in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) took the stand today in a landmark trial, where Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has provided technical support in gathering forensic evdience.

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Protecting Survivors, Ensuring Justice: Week One of the Kavumu Child Rape Trial

Cloaked from head to toe to shield her identity, the witness was led into the makeshift court room and seated behind a screen. Out of sight of the 18 defendants, she addressed the court.

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PHR Awarded 2017 Dodd Prize in Human Rights

On November 2, 2017, Physicians for Human Rights received the 2017 Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in Storrs, Connecticut. As part of the formal award ceremony, former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd and the Center’s leadership presented PHR Executive Director Donna McKay and board chairman Kerry Sulkowicz with the award.

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PHR and NGOs Urge United States and United Kingdom to end Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

PHR and other NGOs call on the United States and the United Kingdom to use the upcoming Quint meeting to prevent a catastrophic worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, secure an end to the blockades of Yemen’s ports, and call for a stop to all attacks on civilians.

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PHR Documents Worst String of Hospital Attacks in Syria Since April

Over the past week, Syrian government forces or their Russian allies have launched at least five aerial attacks on three of the main hospitals in Syria’s Idlib governorate, the most concentrated string of hospital attacks Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has verified in Syria since April.

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Raqqa Offensive Has Destroyed City’s Health Care System

Intense fighting in Raqqa has devastated the Syrian city’s health care system, even as the offensive to release the city from ISIS control has increased the need for emergency services among an ever more desperate population. In interviews with health professionals and relief personnel, PHR has confirmed that Raqqa’s poorly-equipped National Hospital is now the only health care facility operating to serve tens of thousands of people remaining in the city.

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Human Rights Trailblazer at 100

In September, Physicians for Human Rights celebrated the 100th birthday of one of our co-founders, Dr. Carola Eisenberg. With a career spanning well over five decades, Dr. Eisenberg has been a trailblazing physician and human rights advocate.

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PHR Statement on Torture Lawsuit Settlement

Today the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced a settlement in its historic lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed and implemented the post-9/11 CIA torture program. Physicians for Human Rights has long investigated the role of health professionals in designing, implementing, and legitimizing U.S. torture, in violation of the law and medical ethics.

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PHR Statement on Post-Election Developments in Kenya

As post-election demonstrations in Kenya continue, PHR condemns excessive use of violence against peaceful protesters as well as credible allegations that police have threatened sexual violence against Kenyans. We demand swift investigations and accountability into any wrongdoing, and call for respect for human rights on all sides.

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The CIA's Program of Human Experimentation

This June, PHR published a report showing that the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program constituted a regime of illegal human experimentation. Senior Anti-Torture Fellow Sarah Dougherty was the lead author of PHR’s latest report and explains how she came to these conclusions.

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Attacks in Syria and Yemen are turning disease into a weapon of war

Today we are seeing another cruel method of warfare emerge on the battlefield: the weaponization of disease, particularly in Syria and Yemen.

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Letter to Secretary of Health Republic of the Philippines

PHR urges Philippines Secretary of Health to undertake a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation into claims of medical complicity, and take all measures necessary to ensure that no health staff or health systems under their authority take part in human rights abuses.

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Neither Justice nor Treatment

Drug courts in the United States routinely fail to provide adequate, medically-sound treatment for substance use disorders, with treatment plans that are at times designed and facilitated by individuals with little to no medical training. In this report, Physicians for Human Rights shows how drug courts – designed to reduce incarceration and provide necessary treatment – struggle to meet medical and human rights standards.

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PHR Unveils Anti-Torture Pledge for Health Professionals

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today launched a pledge for health professionals across the United States to stand together in their rejection of torture, voicing the consensus that torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited in all circumstances.

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Physicians for Human Rights Statement on Alleged Chemical Strike in Khan Sheikhoun

Today, PHR condemns the apparent chemical weapon attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib governorate, as well as a suspected strike on the town’s medical facility, which was treating victims of the chemical attack.

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Access Denied: UN Aid Deliveries to Syria’s Besieged and Hard-to-Reach Areas

As the conflict in Syria enters its seventh grueling year, Physicians for Human Rights calls attention to the Syrian government’s continued practice of deliberately and illegally manipulating UN humanitarian access to millions of people trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas of the country.

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Turkey Again Postpones Trial of Human Rights Defender

PHR says arbitrary case against Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı must be dropped.

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U.S. Withdrawal from Human Rights Council Undermines Accountability

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is deeply disappointed and concerned by the United States government’s decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, a move it called counterproductive and damaging.

Families Must be Together in Community-Based Settings: Tent Cities are Inhumane.

PHR welcomes recent steps by Congress to end the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, but rejects any proposal to detain families in tent cities on military bases. PHR urges the Trump administration and Congress to keep families together in community-based settings, which are humane and effective alternatives to detention.

America’s Health Professionals Appeal to Trump Administration: End Family Separation at Border Immediately

Thousands of medical voices from across the United States have joined forces with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to urge the Trump administration to immediately halt the separation of migrant and asylum seeking children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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On the Cutting Edge – Without Electricity or Internet (June 5, 2018)

PHR’s award-winning mobile app MediCapt enables doctors, clinical officers, and nurses to collect, store, and securely share forensic medical evidence in cases of sexual violence. The app has already been field-tested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and earlier this year PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones launched MediCapt in Kenya.

We have evaluated torture survivors. Gina Haspel cannot head the CIA. (May 7, 2018)

For years, much has been reported on the abhorrent practice of waterboarding during the United States’ “War on Terror” – but, until recently, less has been said about other forms of torture that were perpetrated by Americans on CIA detainees. With the nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director, the spotlight has now been shone on a notorious CIA “black site” prison, the name and location of which are widely known in open sources but which officially remain classified.

10 Reasons Health Professionals Should Oppose Gina Haspel as CIA Director (April 27, 2018)

On May 9, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a confirmation hearing to consider Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to head the CIA. A fair hearing is impossible, given the agency’s campaign to ensure Haspel’s promotion and conceal her involvement in its post-9/11 torture program.

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Joint Letter to Turkish President Erdoğan Condemning Persecution of Medical Professionals (January 2018)

PHR has signed a joint letter to Turkish President Erdoğan expressing grave concern over the ongoing persecution of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA). The TMA’s leadership was arrested this week following days of threats and protests over a recent statement by the group criticizing war as a public health threat.

PHR Remembers its Founder, Dr. Jonathan Fine (January 2018)

Dr. Jonathan Fine (1931-2018), who died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 17, 2018, was the founder and first executive director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). A primary care physician raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, Fine was already a student activist as an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, before going on to receive his medical training at Yale University and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University.

Issue Brief: Attacks on Health in Syria (January 2018)

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on January 11, 2018, Senators will examine U.S. policy in Syria. PHR’s issue brief highlights the need for a comprehensive U.S. strategy for Syria that prioritizes civilian protection and welfare as attacks on health and human suffering continue unabated.

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