It has been less than two weeks since our return from Bukavu, DRC, and now Dr. Denis Mukwege and his family have been the targets of armed violence while defending the rights of victims of sexual violence in the region.
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.
Today at his appellate court trial in Bahrain, hospital administrator Younis Ashoori could have been freed from arbitrary detention. The trumped up charges against him could have been overturned, proving to Bahrain’s citizens and the world that the Bahraini government would not dare to uphold a three-year conviction handed down last June by military court. Sadly, this was not the case.
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.
For the past seven weeks a well-known human rights activist in Bahrain has led a hunger strike protesting his imprisonment and torture at the hands of his captors. The forced feeding he has likely been subjected to is torture and must end immediately.