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Attacks in Syria

Syrian Man Shot Smuggling Medicine
A Syrian man shot while smuggling medicine over the Lebanese border is carried into a field hospital in Qusayr, Syria.(AFP/GettyImages)

Since mid-March 2011 Syrian government forces have sought to crush citizen uprisings. More than 190,000 people have been killed according to the UN and at thousands of others are reported to be in custody or missing.

In addition to the widely reported atrocities committed by the government, PHR has discovered reports of grievous attacks on medical facilities, health workers, and patients and documented these alarming assaults on the medical profession.

PHR calls on Bashar al-Assad to end assaults on Syria’s hospitals, doctors, and patients — a clear violation of the universally recognized principle of medical neutrality. Medical neutrality requires noninterference with medical services in times of armed conflict and nondiscriminatory treatment of the sick and wounded.

Both sides of the conflict must immediately abide by all relevant international laws. The sick and wounded must be provided the help they need, and medical professionals must be free to do their job without interference.

Turkish Medical Group Faces Lawsuit for Providing Emergency Care (September 23, 2014)

PHR is calling on judges in Ankara to dismiss a lawsuit against the Turkish Medical Association, which recruited and organized physicians to provide urgently needed emergency medical care to demonstrators injured during the Gezi Park protests that began in May 2013.

Secretary Kerry Must Press Burmese Government to Uphold Human Rights (August 5, 2014)

Secretary Kerry must press the Burmese government to stop the violence against ethnic minorities, investigate past attacks, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

May Marks Deadliest Month for Medical Personnel in Syria; June was Second Highest for Facility Attacks (July 23, 2014)

PHR today released the latest numbers on attacks on health care in Syria, which show that – with 30 deaths – May was the deadliest month for medical professionals.

PHR Calls for Protection of Medical Facilities and Personnel in Gaza (July 22, 2014)

PHR calls on the government of Israel to stop attacking health facilities, ambulances, and health personnel in Gaza. PHR also said that Hamas and other armed groups must fully respect and protect the neutral operation of medical personnel and patients’ safety by ensuring that no military equipment or units operate in or near medical facilities.

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The United States and Its Unafraid Ally, Bahrain (September 19, 2014)

The United States, a long-time ally of the al-Khalifa regime currently governing Bahrain, is in a unique position to pressure the country to change its policies. The United States must take concrete action to condemn the Bahraini regime for its ongoing human rights violations.

What Did President Obama Leave Out of His Speech on the Islamic State? (September 12, 2014)

On the same turf that IS operates other actors are committing mass atrocities, while enjoying full impunity.

While Syria Burns (July 17, 2014)

I had mixed emotions about the latest "good news" on humanitarian aid in Syria. The U.N. Security Council has passed a long overdue resolution that -- if implemented -- will save the lives of Syrians trapped in desperate circumstances by the war.

Attacking Health Care: A Common Denominator in Conflict (June 3, 2014)

Last week, Human Rights Watch reported that the Iraqi government repeatedly targeted and attacked Fallujah General Hospital in Anbar province. Fallujah is a pivotal city in Sunni-majority Anbar province, which has long accused the Shia-dominated central government of persecution.

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Syria's Medical Community Under Assault (July 2014)

This fact sheet illustrates the deliberate targeting and destruction of medical facilities by government and opposition forces, loss of medical personnel, and resulting health consequences in Syria.

NGOs Welcome Unprecedented Step Towards Increased Aid in Syria (July 2014)

Physicians for Human Rights and partner NGOs welcome the United Nations Security Council resolution, which directly authorizes UN agencies and their implementing partners to deliver aid across Syria’s borders and conflict lines.

Student Toolkit (May 2014)

This student toolkit provides comprehensive information on the principle of medical neutrality – which ensures safe access to medical facilities, protects health care workers and their patients, and allows medical workers to provide unbiased care.

Letter from Medical and Public Health Experts to President Thein Sein Regarding Suspension of MSF in Rakhine State (April 2014)

In this letter, 30 medical and public health experts express concern over the government of Burma's refusal to allow Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to conduct humanitarian operations in Rakhine State.

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Featured Report

Syria: Attacks on Doctors, Patients, and Hospitals

The Syrian government has responded to popular protests with months of sustained and extreme violence and intimidation, and an all-out assault on the country’s medical system. PHR has documented attacks on Syria’s medical profession – violations that are but one aspect of the myriad abuses the Syrian people have endured over the past several months. Read More »