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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.

Conflicts and Crises Spawn Attacks on Health Care Worldwide (May 20, 2015)

Health professionals, facilities, and patients are regularly targeted by violence and restrictive legislation in situations of conflict and civil unrest, according to an online, interactive world map of attacks on health published today by PHR.

PHR Welcomes Decision on Navy Nurse, Demands End to Force-Feeding in Guantánamo (May 13, 2015)

PHR welcomed the U.S. Navy’s decision not to discharge a nurse for refusing to force-feed detainees on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay.

Burma’s Population Control Bill Threatens Maternal Health Progress (April 22, 2015)

The parliament of Burma recently passed a new “population control” bill that could represent a serious setback for the country’s maternal health advances if implemented in a coercive or discriminatory manner.

Attacks on Health Care in Syria Continue, Defying U.N. Resolutions (April 17, 2015)

Deliberate attacks on hospitals and health care professionals in Syria persist despite three United Nations resolutions aimed at protecting civilians and new hopes of relief following recent international pledges of aid to Syrians in need, according to an online map of attacks on health PHR updated today.

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Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: After Ushahidi – Using New Technologies to Prevent Mass Atrocities (May 19, 2015)

Kenya’s post-election violence was particularly remarkable given that it was witnessed and documented to an unprecedented degree by the country’s residents.

Tech & Human Rights Blog Series (May 19, 2015)

PHR's Tech & Human Rights Blog Series is meant to highlight the intersection between technology and human rights, and to examine the increasing role that technology can play in advancing human rights around the world.

Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: The Power of Digital Documentation and Social Media (May 12, 2015)

One of the questions I am asked most often about my work on the Syria mapping project is how we are able to conduct our research without being on the ground in country.

Unbiased Health Care Stifled in Bahrain (April 30, 2015)

The release of Ibrahim al-Demestani, a nurse imprisoned by Bahraini authorities, is the latest chapter in the government’s ongoing campaign against health professionals. While his release should be celebrated, al-Demestani should never have been imprisoned and forced to complete a three-year sentence in the first place.

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International NGOs Urge Ban Ki-moon to Negotiate Aid Access to Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma) (May 2015)

Twenty-six international humanitarian aid and advocacy organizations have written to the United Nations Secretary-General, urging him to give his “personal attention” to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma) and to take “a personal lead” in negotiating for humanitarian access to all areas of Rakhine State.

Navy Nurse Press Call (May 2015)

Physicians for Human Rights commends the U.S. Navy’s decision not to discharge the nurse who refused to participate in the force-feeding of Guantánamo detainees.

Open Letter to the Government of Bahrain (March 2015)

Physicians for Human Rights, partner organizations, and human rights activists call on the government on Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience in the country in the aftermath of the 2011 popular uprising.

The Crisis in Syria Turns Four (March 2015)

Ahead of the four-year anniversary of the crisis in Syria, Physicians for Human Rights and partner organizations call on permanent members of the UN Security Council to refrain from using their veto power when confronted with a crisis in which civilians are at impending risk of atrocity crimes.

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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 »