I’m a Muslim woman of color living in diverse New York City, but the part of the city I live in is predominantly conservative. As a visible minority, I have never felt particularly welcomed by some of my neighbors. But up until recently, I was comforted by the fact that if the hostility expressed toward me escalated, I could at least take refuge in the law — that no matter my religion or my skin color or my choice of dress, the protections afforded by the rule of law would provide some measure of safety, or at least accountability.
Physicians have unique skills to contribute to asylum seekers; they can use their medical training to document the physical and psychological scars of torture and ill-treatment. Although emotionally challenging, the work offers the rewards that attract doctors to the practice of medicine in the first place.
After attending a PHR training, those health professionals can then sign up with PHR’s Asylum Network, a group of more than 500 volunteers who conduct assessments of asylum applicants nationwide.
The refugee crisis in Europe has shown the very real limits to the social coherence and solidarity that seemed to form the basis for the European Union until now. But even within the climate of hostility against asylum seekers in Europe, Denmark stands apart as one of the worst aggressors.
I came to Europe to bear witness to the overwhelming numbers of children, women, and men searching for safety and a future far from the bombs that have devastated their homes in Syria. I joined the Nobel Women's Initiative to meet with some of these courageous refugees and listened to their stories.