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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.

Indian Authorities Unleashed Excessive Force Against Kashmir Protesters (December 5, 2016)

From July 2016 until earlier this fall, at least 87 people have been killed and more than 9,000 injured in clashes between Indian authorities and protesters across the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In a study published today, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) reported these fatalities and injuries were a result of Indian authorities using indiscriminate and excessive force – and demonstrated that security forces routinely blocked access to needed urgent care.

In Two Days, Four Syrian Hospitals Suffer Airstrikes (November 15, 2016)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today confirmed airstrikes against four separate hospitals in Syria on Sunday and Monday of this week. All within 20 miles of one another, the four facilities sustained significant damage after coming under air fire by either Syrian government forces or their Russian allies. PHR continues to condemn the ongoing assault on Syria’s medical personnel and facilities and calls for renewed vigilance on the part of the entire international community to end such crimes.

Turkish Court Postpones Case against Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Two Others (November 8, 2016)

A Turkish court today postponed criminal proceedings against Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and a longtime partner and colleague of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Earlier this year, Dr. Fincancı and her co-defendants, Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin, were accused of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” for taking part in a solidarity campaign with a newspaper critical of Turkey’s government. Her case will resume January 11, 2017.

Despite Relative Calm in Aleppo, Airstrikes on Syrian Hospitals Continue (October 21, 2016)

As the Syrian and Russian governments planned to halt their bombing of civilians and hospitals in Aleppo this week, attacks on medical facilities in other parts of Syria continued unabated. During that time, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) documented a series of deadly strikes on hospitals throughout Syria, and PHR today urged that the international community heed these ongoing violations of international law.

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Human Rights on Trial in Turkey (November 21, 2016)

Accused of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” for taking part in a freedom of expression campaign, Dr. Fincancı is one of thousands of Turks who have faced punishment in recent months for criticizing a government that has increasingly flouted international law and human rights norms - and has shown a willingness to vilify anyone who opposes its actions.

The U.N. General Assembly Can’t Let Syria Become Another Rwanda (September 19, 2016)

World leaders have been given the opportunity to change the situation in Syria and end the ongoing violence at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Doctors of Aleppo Abandoned, Again (August 17, 2016)

In their letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Aleppo’s remaining doctors pleaded not for tears but for a plan to end the Syrian government’s all-out assault on hospitals and medical workers. And the response from the White House was the same as it’s been for months: we’re working on it.

World Must Not Overlook Violence in Turkey’s Southeast in Wake of Failed Coup (August 11, 2016)

In order to prevent more loss of life, Turkish authorities must cease unlawful practices that obstruct access to health care, and commit to investigating all allegations of human rights violations committed since July 2015 in the southeast.

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Blind to Justice: Excessive Use of Force and Attacks on Health Care in Jammu and Kashmir, India (December 2016)

In this report, Physicians for Human Rights describes the excessive and indiscriminate use of force against protesters by Indian state police and Central Reserve Police Forces with weapons misleadingly represented as “less than lethal.” While Indian authorities claimed that the use of these weapons was meant to reduce the potential for injuries or fatalities, PHR researchers found that their use had in fact caused serious injury and death.

PHR and Global Coalition Demand Immediate UN Action to End Attacks in Syria (December 2016)

The UN has failed to protect the Syrian people. Through its inaction – in large part due to the stalemate in the Security Council – the UN is allowing the siege of Aleppo and elsewhere to continue, unhindered, threatening the lives of millions of civilians still left in Syria and impeding life-saving aid from accessing them. Physicians for Human Rights stands with a global coalition of 223 civil society organizations who are urgently calling upon UN member states to request an Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly, demanding “timely and decisive action” and an end to these unlawful attacks.

Letter to Turkish President on Unlawful Charges Against Human Rights Defenders (November 2016)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today urging his government to immediately drop all charges against Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, as well as charges against author Ahmet Nesin and Erol Önderoğlu of Reporters without Borders, both of whom were arrested and detained with Dr. Fincancı. Their arrests and subsequent detention, allegedly due to their involvement in “making terrorist propaganda,” are unwarranted and in direct violation of their rights to free expression and association in accordance with international human rights.

Letter to Vice President Biden on Crisis in Turkey (August 2016)

PHR sent a letter to U.S. Vice President Biden, ahead of his upcoming visit to Turkey, to express concern about the ongoing crisis in Turkey’s southeast.

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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 »