Since the outbreak of violence in Syria in March 2011, more than 100,000 people have died. In addition to the widely reported atrocities that have occurred during the conflict , PHR has documented reports of serious violations of medical neutrality in Syria and alarming attacks on medical professionals.
In light of the recent reports of apparent chemical weapon attacks in Syria, PHR has made available chemical weapons fact sheets meant to educate and provide guidance to physicians who may become first responders in a chemical warfare agents attack. We have also developed an informational fact sheet on nerve agent exposure and chemical weapons evidence collection meant to provide an overview of the deadly effects of nerve agents, as well as the procedure for the professional documentation of evidence of chemical warfare agents use and exposure.
PHR Calls for Unfettered Access for Humanitarian Assistance in Syria (November 26, 2013)
PHR is calling on the U.S. government to immediately enter into high-level negotiations with the Russian government to ensure unfettered access in Syria for the International Committee of the Red Cross and other U.N. and humanitarian organizations that urgently need to provide vital services and supplies.
PHR Comments on Nobel Peace Prize Announcement (October 11, 2013)
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which has a long history documenting and providing expertise on chemical weapons, today congratulated the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for being selected for the Nobel Peace Prize.
PHR Urges U.S. and International Community to Address War Crimes in Syria Negotiations (September 13, 2013)
Government forces have deliberately attacked medical facilities across Syria, systematically targeted doctors and other health providers with violence, arrests and killings, and repeatedly denied medical care to the sick and wounded in violation of international humanitarian laws, according to a new U.N. report.
PHR Experts Comment on Video Footage from Syria (August 23, 2013)
A team of experts from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has reviewed footage of a number of publicly available videos emerging from Syria, along with reports of events leading up to the filmed footage, and concluded that there is compelling medical evidence that chemical weapons or other lethal gases have been used.
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Discovering Inspiration in Tragedy (November 18, 2013)
“I’m upset – feeling guilty for leaving colleagues working in extreme circumstances in Syria. But I will document the violations. That is my contribution.” - Syrian refugee doctor
Polio and Starvation - Latest Indicators of Humanitarian Crisis in Syria (November 8, 2013)
The health crisis in Syria has reached alarming proportions, threatening not only the Syrian population, but also its neighbors, and requires an immediate international response.
Despite Chemical Weapons Agreement, Crisis Continues for Syrian Refugees and IDPs (October 28, 2013)
Currently, more than 2 million individuals have fled Syria and 4.25 million have been internally displaced. Efforts to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program have done nothing to quell the violence within its borders or stem the tide of refugees fleeing the country.
A Dual Assault on Syrian Civilians: Unlawful Attacks on Medical Care (September 27, 2013)
Three medical workers in Syria were injured in June when a bomb was deliberately dropped on their hospital, destroying its intensive care unit. Soon after, another hospital became a target – government forces raided the facility, destroyed the equipment, and harassed medical staff solely for doing their job of treating the wounded.
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Nerve Agent Exposure and Collection of Forensic Evidence (August 2013)
PHR has compiled this information packet on chemical weapons evidence collection to provide an overview of how professional investigators may go about documenting evidence of chemical warfare agents use and exposure. Evidence collection of the use of such weapons requires highly specialized procedures and equipment.
Syria’s failure to withdraw troops from urban areas this morning was a disappointment. The country had agreed to a withdrawal under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. Rather than abide by its commitment, the Government of Syria has instead continued to attack civilians after the deadline.
PHR applauds the US Administration for delivering aid, including medical supplies to opposition groups within Syria.
Recently Released Video Appears to Show Evidence of Torture at Hands of Syria’s Medical Professionals (March 2012)
Recent news reports state that the UN special rapporteur on torture has said a video showing evidence of torture within Syrian hospitals, “is consistent with what my mandate (office) has been receiving over the last several months.” This documentation of gruesome attacks on injured patients, apparently captured on film by a hospital employee, is further evidence of the brutality unleashed on civilians by the Syrian government.
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The Syrian government has responded to popular protests with months of sustained and extreme violence and intimidation, and an all-out assault on the country’s medical system. PHR has documented attacks on Syria’s medical profession – violations that are but one aspect of the myriad abuses the Syrian people have endured over the past several months. Read More »