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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.

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.

Questions President Erdogan Should Answer Tomorrow in Washington (May 16, 2017)

Tomorrow, U.S. President Donald J. Trump will meet with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has long partnered with Turkish health professionals and human rights advocates to investigate and prevent human rights violations in Turkey and around the world. Since last year’s coup attempt, the crackdown against critics and human rights defenders has been catastrophic.

PHR Condemns Baseless Criminal Conviction of Turkish Doctor (April 24, 2017)

A doctor and human rights defender in southeastern Turkey was convicted today for treating alleged members of anti-government Kurdish armed groups. A three-judge panel handed down a conviction against Dr. Serdar Küni, a member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, who was arrested and detained last October. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which sent a delegation to attend Dr. Küni’s trial in the Turkish city of Şırnak, said his conviction is unwarranted and a blatant attack against health professionals who are providing health care in Turkey’s restive southeast.

More -General News »

As Drug Court Proponents Rally Around Capitol Hill, Legislators Beware (July 11, 2017)

As drug court proponents call for expanding drug courts as an alternative to incarceration for people arrested on drug-related charges, they are failing to address the intense debate about the efficacy of the courts and the need for policy reform that will allow people to access treatment outside the criminal justice system.

Homer Venters: Q&A With a Physician for Human Rights (June 19, 2017)

Homer Venters, MD, MS, recently joined PHR as director of programs. A physician and epidemiologist, he is an internationally recognized leader in health and human rights.

How Drug Courts Are Falling Short (June 8, 2017)

At 19 years old, Joshua Smith (not his real name) was diagnosed with an opiate use disorder. Following several attempts at treatment, Smith moved from California to a town in Arizona known for being home to recovery houses for those struggling with substance use disorders. Six months after he arrived in Arizona, Smith relapsed and overdosed on heroin.

Justice Denied for Turkey’s Doctors (March 22, 2017)

On March 13, I traveled to Şirnak as part of a delegation of doctors, lawyers, and supporters from Turkey and around the world to witness the trial of Dr. Serdar Küni. A well-known doctor from the region, Dr. Küni is on trial for treating patients during the unrest last year in his hometown of Cizre.

More -General Posts »

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.

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 »