Since mid-March, 2011, Syrian government forces have sought to crush citizen uprisings. More than 1,700 people have been killed and at least 10,000 are reported to be in custody or missing. In addition to the widely reported atrocities committed by the government, PHR has discovered reports of serious violations of medical neutrality in Syria and documented these alarming attacks on the medical profession.
PHR is calling on the United Nations Security Council to refer the escalating Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to hold perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable.
PHR-Led Bill to Protect Health Workers Introduced (May 16, 2013)
PHR today helped introduce a bill that would protect health workers globally from increasing attacks during times of war and unrest, and ensure they can continue to provide services without fear of violence, retribution, or arrest.
How Doctors Would Know If Syrians Were Hit With Nerve Gas (NPR.org, May 1, 2013)
President Obama affirmed Tuesday that there's evidence Syrians have been attacked with chemical weapons — in particular, nerve gas. But that's not the same as proof positive. So PHR is setting up a network to get fact sheets about chemical weapons into the hands of Syrian physicians.
Independent Investigation and Forensic Protocols Are Key to Assessing Chemical Weapons Use (April 26, 2013)
Amid accumulating signs that chemical weapons may have been used recently in Syria, PHR repeats its call for a thorough independent investigation of such allegations to be conducted immediately that follows forensic protocols for handling evidence.
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Medical Professionals Must Take Action Against Dr. Assad (June 26, 2012)
I believe the vast majority of us became medical professionals for the right reason—we wanted to follow Hippocrates’ admonition “to cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.” As a person deeply committed to human rights, I deplore the violence that grips Syria. I mourn the thousands who have died. as a doctor, I must also specifically address the deliberate attacks waged by government forces on medical professionals and patients.
Syrian Medics At The Frontline (April 10, 2012)
In the last thirteen months, at least 8000 Syrian civilians have died in a brutal government crackdown according to the UN. Medical professionals who dare to treat the injured have also found themselves in the line of fire.
Government Offers Protection for Syrians in the US (March 27, 2012)
In a statement issued on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Obama administration will designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), offering Syrians currently living in the US a chance to stay in the country while the Assad regime continues its brutal suppression of the pro-democracy movement.
The Syrian government escorted a team of UN technical staff into the country this week. Although this ostensible show of glasnost may look encouraging, restricting UN agencies’ access will result in an unreliable assessment of Syria’s humanitarian needs.
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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.
As the bloodshed in Syria—which local organizations report has killed over 8,000 people so far—reaches new proportions daily, international actors have been unable to find an effective response to the crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime.
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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 »