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.
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.