PHR sent this letter to the Turkish Ministry of Health expressing our deep concern over the ministry's efforts to pass legislation that would prevent medical personnel from providing emergency care to anyone in need, including demonstrators.
An Ethiopian man who sought asylum in the United States had been repeatedly beaten and tortured in his home country simply for engaging in protests against the government. A young Sudanese woman who was an outspoken human rights advocate bears scars from having been burned and beaten by her torturers; she now struggles to interact with people and is afraid of enclosed spaces like subway stations.
PHR has joined 75 other organizations in expressing concern about the ongoing human rights violations and humanitarian crisis occurring in Burma. Their joint statement expresses deep concern for the Rohingya, a stateless minority that has long been persecuted and subjected to countless acts of violence, persecution, and discrimination.
Along with many of my medical colleagues, I have been appalled to read recent news accounts of Turkish doctors being arrested, questioned, and threatened with having their medical licenses revoked merely for treating protesters wounded in clashes with security forces in Istanbul. We have also been encouraged, however, to see the Turkish Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Central Council respond so forcefully to the Ministry of Health’s attempts to discourage physicians from treating protesters engaged in “illegal” activities.
A presidential statement by the Human Rights Council for an end to violence against Muslims in Burma is a welcome step but does not go far enough to protect minorities and should call for an international investigation.