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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.

Physicians for Human Rights Honors Heroes of Health Care and Human Rights (May 3, 2018)

PHR held its annual gala dinner on Wednesday night (May 2) at the Mandarin Oriental in New York, attended by some 250 human rights advocates and activists across industries and sectors, including physicians, philanthropists, journalists, and others who support the important work done by PHR.

On International Women’s Day, PHR Demands Accountability for Kenyan Victims of Sexual Violence (March 8, 2018)

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.

Shelling Prevents Aid from Entering Eastern Ghouta Despite UN Resolution Demanding that Hostilities Stop - Aid Groups (March 1, 2018)

Airstrikes and shelling on Eastern Ghouta have prevented humanitarian aid from entering the besieged enclave as well as medical evacuations five days after the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate nationwide cessation of hostilities, according to a group of international humanitarian organizations.

Attacks on Medical Facilities in Yemen is a “Defining Element” of Nation’s Intractable Conflict (February 27, 2018)

The deliberate targeting of health care facilities, with devastating impact on civilians, is a defining element of the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Al-Tawra Hospital, the central public hospital and one of the main health care facilities in Taiz, Yemen’s second largest city with a population of over one million, has been directly targeted by dozens of mortar shells since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015.

More -General News »

DNA Technology and the Denial of Justice for Survivors of Sexual Violence (November 29, 2017)

DNA analysis is often lauded as an invaluable tool for prosecutors. But it’s not a panacea, and our exaggerated dependence on it threatens to derail countless cases of sexual violence.

PHR Awarded 2017 Dodd Prize in Human Rights (November 28, 2017)

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.

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

Twenty years ago, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced it would award the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the campaign’s coordinator, Jody Williams, for their work in securing a landmark treaty to ban antipersonnel mines globally. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), as a founding member of the Campaign, shared in the prize.

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.

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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.

PHR and partners appeal to Kenya to curb election-linked police rape and violence (October 2017)

PHR called on the Kenyan government to take all measures to stop police from raping and assaulting civilians as they vote in presidential elections today, and to ensure access to medical care for any survivors of violence.

More -General Research »

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 »