The resilient spirit of the Syrian people is nowhere more evident than in the group of doctors and lawyers I recently spent an evening with in the Middle East. Their capacity to find joy in life, even during this horrific conflict, is remarkable.
As the Middle East and North Africa program assistant at Physicians for Human Rights, I have the opportunity to work with Syrian doctors practicing medicine and documenting human rights violations both inside and outside of Syria.
As members of the Syrian government, opposition forces, and international actors gather for Geneva II – the latest round of peace negotiations – it is crucial that all parties prioritize the end of systematic violations on medical care and targeted blockades of civilian communities.
This week an Ohio judge awarded $15 million to Abukar Hassan Ahmed, a Somali constitutional law professor and human rights advocate, following a civil trial in which a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) volunteer doctor delivered testimony crucial to the case.
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.