Attacks in Syria
Since mid-March, 2011, Syrian government forces have sought to crush citizen uprisings. More than 10,000 people have been killed 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 Dr. Assad to end assaults on Syria’s hospitals, doctors, and patients—a clear violation of the universally recognized principles 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; they must cease all attacks on civilians, and take immediate steps to abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement. The sick and wounded must be provided the help they need, and medical professionals must be free to do their job without interferences.
Muslims Linked to Riots Given Prison Terms in Myanmar (New York Times, May 21, 2013)
A court in Myanmar sentenced seven Muslim men to prison on Tuesday on charges related to the spasms of religious violence two months ago that left more than 40 people dead and chased thousands of people from their homes in central Myanmar. PHR published a report on Monday detailing “organized attacks against Muslims” in Meiktila.
Massacre in Burma: PHR Calls for Immediate Investigation (May 20, 2013)
PHR today released a report detailing the organized attacks against Muslims that took place in central Burma in late March and resulted in the killing of at least 20 children and four teachers. The report provides evidence that state authorities, who idly stood by watching the events unfold, are complicit in these crimes.
PHR-Led Bill to Protect Health Workers Introduced (May 16, 2013)
PHR today helped introduce a bill that would protect health workers globally from increasing attacks during times of war and unrest, and ensure they can continue to provide services without fear of violence, retribution, or arrest.
How Doctors Would Know If Syrians Were Hit With Nerve Gas (NPR.org, May 1, 2013)
President Obama affirmed Tuesday that there's evidence Syrians have been attacked with chemical weapons — in particular, nerve gas. But that's not the same as proof positive. So PHR is setting up a network to get fact sheets about chemical weapons into the hands of Syrian physicians.
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Visit by Burmese Leader Offers Key Opportunity to Press for Human Rights Improvements (May 20, 2013)
Burmese President Thein Sein is scheduled to meet with President Obama today, marking the first visit to the United States by a Burmese head of state in 47 years. Since that visit in 1966, the people of Burma have endured governmental mismanagement, brutal military rule, and serious human rights violations. Burma became a pariah state, synonymous with its infamous imprisonment of political activists and militarized attacks on civilians.
The cancellation of an international medical ethics conference that had been scheduled for April 10-12 in Bahrain is another sign that the country’s rulers continue a systematic pattern of politicizing medical affairs.
A Dark Day for Human Rights in Burma (April 25, 2013)
On April 22, the European Union lifted all sanctions against the Burmese government except for an arms embargo. The international community’s rush to applaud the Burmese government’s nascent reforms will ultimately hamper further improvements.
Stained Glass Transparency: Bahrain’s Latest Obfuscation of International Human Rights Accountability (April 25, 2013)
Bahrain has again indefinitely postponed a visit by the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, the latest in a series of attempts to deter human rights observers from scrutinizing the kingdom’s dismal human records record. The government told the rapporteur, Juan Méndez, that his visit could be “immensely damaging” to the Bahrain National Dialogue, an initiative that should welcome such a visit if it truly seeks to promote reform.
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Massacre in Central Burma (May 2013)
Anti-Muslim violence swept through central Burma in spring 2013, reportedly sparked by an argument at a gold shop and the killing of a Buddhist monk in Meiktila, Mandalay. Homes, mosques, and madrassas were destroyed, and over 100 people lost their lives. This report is the result of an investigation by a PHR team, undertaken shortly after the violence occurred.
PHR's report outlines steps that Afghanistan can take if it is to make progress in addressing the right to truth of victims of more than three decades of violent conflict by identifying missing and disappeared persons.
The identification and repatriation of individuals killed and “disappeared” during the recent conflict in Libya and the previous regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi constitute one of the most urgent challenges facing the interim government of Libya.
President Obama is choosing an odd time to make history as the first US president to visit Burma. Ethnic violence continues to devastate Rakhine State in western Burma, conflict rages in northern Kachin State, and military officials responsible for some of the worst violence in the country continue to thrive in a climate of impunity.
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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 »