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Kenya experienced widespread sexual violence during the post-election period in 2007-2008, leading Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to launch the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, a multi-year training and advocacy initiative, in 2011. This program aims to forge coalitions among medical, law enforcement, and legal experts to help respond to survivors of sexual violence.

In February 2013, PHR co-filed a petition with eight survivors of sexual violence and four Kenyan civil society organizations. This constitutional challenge against the government of Kenya argues that the state must implement measures to protect civilians from widespread sexual violence and to provide survivors with adequate access to justice. Though a slow judicial process is anticipated, the case has already begun to garner the attention of national and international news outlets.

In June 2014, PHR brought a delegation of 28 people to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London, including five delegates from the legal, judicial, medical, and police sectors in Kenya.

Watch this video, debuted at the summit, to learn more about PHR’s work in Kenya.

PHR Documents Worst String of Hospital Attacks in Syria Since April (September 27, 2017)

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.

Raqqa Offensive Has Destroyed City’s Health Care System (September 8, 2017)

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.

Statement of Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Stephen Rapp on the Proposed Elimination of the Office of Global Criminal Justice (July 18, 2017)

Following reports of the proposed closure of the U.S. State Department office that focuses on war crimes, PHR today condemned the proposal and released this statement attributable to former U.S. ambassador-at-large Stephen J. Rapp, PHR board member: “The proposed closure of the Office of Global Criminal Justice represents a profound lack of understanding of the mechanisms necessary to hold war criminals accountable for their actions."

PHR Responds to Re-Authorization of Travel Ban (June 26, 2017)

“We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to re-authorize parts of the Trump administration’s draconian, needlessly cruel travel ban. It will only sow more chaos and heartbreak. What is particularly troubling about the court’s ruling today is that by designing a ‘bona fide relationship’ requirement, the court is effectively creating separate classes of refugees.

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“Our Work Isn’t Finished Yet” (October 9, 2017)

Twenty years after the global ban on landmines

Reconciliation and Justice in Northern Iraq (September 26, 2017)

I still remember it vividly. Just over three years ago, in August 2014, I woke up to the news that ISIS – also known as the Islamic State – had launched unprecedented, orchestrated attacks on Yazidi villages in Northern Iraq. Being from Syria, a country plagued by ISIS, I knew very well how ruthless these fighters are. But what happened to the Yazidis exceeded my most pessimistic predictions.

Defending Health Care is at the Heart of the Human Rights Agenda (September 18, 2017)

As ambassadors, foreign ministers, and heads of state gather in New York this week for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, hundreds of critical global issues and vital events vie for their attention. Terror and nuclear proliferation. Development goals and climate change. Reforming the UN itself, its meetings and its budgets. Refugees.

Human Rights Trailblazer at 100 (September 15, 2017)

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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Letter to Secretary of Health Republic of the Philippines (July 2017)

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.

Neither Justice nor Treatment (June 2017)

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.

Access Denied: UN Aid Deliveries to Syria’s Besieged and Hard-to-Reach Areas (March 2017)

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.

Letter to Indian Minister of Home Affairs (September 2016)

PHR sent a letter to the Indian Minister of Home Affairs, Shri Rajnath Singh, regarding recommendations issued by an Expert Committee on the use of force by police and security forces against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Featured Campaign

Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones

As efforts to support legal redress for survivors of mass rape intensify in Central and East Africa, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is working to improve the abilities of the health and legal communities to build prosecutions of sexual violence crimes, in collaboration with a number of local partners in the region. Read More »

Featured Expert

Karen Naimer

Karen Naimer, JD, LLM, MA

Karen Naimer directs PHR's Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, a training and advocacy initiative that bolsters the ability of doctors, nurses, police officers, lawyers, and judges to support survivors of sexual violence and to collect, document, and preserve forensic evidence related to these crimes. The program cultivates networks of collaboration among medical, legal, and law enforcement personnel to strengthen prosecutions of and accountability for sexual violence in East and Central Africa and elsewhere. Read More »