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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 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.

PHR Files Legal Brief in Support of Turkish Medical Association (March 26, 2014)

PHR submitted an amicus brief today in support of members of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) who will face trial for recruiting and organizing urgent medical care for protesters injured during the Gezi Park demonstrations that began in May 2013.

Latest Wave of Killings and Arrests in Burma Must be Investigated (January 23, 2014)

PHR has expressed concern over reports of mass killings and arrests of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and called on the Burmese authorities to urgently investigate the incidents and hold all those responsible accountable for these crimes.

Turkish President Signs Bill that Criminalizes Emergency Medical Care (January 17, 2014)

PHR expressed concern today over the Turkish president’s signing of a bill that will criminalize certain aspects of emergency care and punish medical professionals.

PHR Submits Statement on Syria’s Refugee Crisis to Senate Committee (January 7, 2014)

The United States should immediately convene a humanitarian summit with Russia and other nations in order to improve humanitarian aid in Syria; take steps to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States; and provide funding to address their health and other needs.

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The Unsung Heroes of Syria (April 16, 2014)

Photos and stories of doctors working in conflict and under other forms of duress are compelling for many reasons. Their bravery and commitment to their patients is admirable, and attacks against those caring for others are unjustifiable in any conflict.

Physician Accounts from the Front Lines of the Syrian Conflict (April 8, 2014)

My recent experiences in training Syrian physicians in a border community opened my eyes to levels of courage and commitment I have never seen in my 30 years of practice and international work.

The Rwandan Genocide: An Indelible Stain (April 7, 2014)

PHR's director of international policy and partnerships/senior advisor, Susannah Sirkin, discusses the Rwandan genocide 20 years later, highlighting that "never again" has not been adhered to. Conflicts in Syria, Sudan, and the Central African Republic continue, and the world is incapable of an effective response.

Strength in the Face of Terror (April 4, 2014)

Qusai Zakarya is by all definitions an incredible human being. After surviving the 2013 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiya, he became a tireless public opponent of the oppressive Assad regime and rallied worldwide support during a 33-day hunger strike that called attention to the illegal siege of cities across Syria.

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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. The signatories urgently call on President Thein Sein to reverse the order expelling the organization from the region, as he did for other parts of the country. The letter reiterates that the removal of MSF from the health infrastructure in Rakhine State is an inexcusable act that will have devastating consequences, particularly for the Rohingya community, which is especially reliant on the health services provided by MSF.

Syria's Medical Community Under Assault (March 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.

Letter to Turkish Prime Minister on Legal Action Against Doctors (March 2014)

PHR and leading medical organizations sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan to express concerns over the Ministry of Health taking punitive actions against physicians, including members of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA), who provided emergency medical care to demonstrators during the Gezi Park protests that begain in May 2013.

An Appeal to President Putin and the Russian Government (February 2014)

As the Olympic Games begin in Sochi, 47 signatories, including PHR broad member, Justice Richard J. Goldstone, callon President Vladimir Putin of Russia to lead efforts to agree on a UN Security Council humanitarian resolution that calls for Syria’s parties to the conflict to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and open Syria’s conflict lines and borders to ensure aid reaches all those in need, including through local ceasefires.

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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 »