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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.

PHR, Watchlist Say Attacks on Health Care Continue Unabated (May 3, 2017)

On anniversary of Security Council Resolution condemning attacks on medical facilities and personnel, both organizations say all-out assault continues worldwide

Turkey Prolongs Unlawful Detention of Physician Who Treated Patients During Unrest in Southeast (March 17, 2017)

A court in the southeastern Turkish city of Şırnak has ordered the continued arbitrary detention of Dr. Serdar Küni, a member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and former president of the Şırnak medical chamber, this week extending his five-month confinement by at least another month.

Turkish Court Continues Baseless Case Against Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı (January 11, 2017)

A criminal court in Istanbul today again postponed the trial of prominent human rights defender Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and a longtime friend and colleague of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Last spring, Dr. Fincancı and two co-defendants were arrested, briefly imprisoned, and charged for disseminating “terrorist propaganda” after taking part in a solidarity campaign with a newspaper critical of Turkey’s government. Proceedings will resume March 21. PHR today reiterated its call to drop all charges against Dr. Fincancı, her co-defendants, and other members of civil society who are being unjustly prosecuted.

PHR Welcomes UN Vote to Collect Syrian War Crimes Evidence (December 22, 2016)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed the United Nations General Assembly’s vote to establish a group that will collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses committed during the Syrian conflict. The team will ultimately prepare that evidence for future justice proceedings.

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In Syria and Yemen, Hospitals Are No Safe Haven (May 3, 2017)

A child in Yemen and a child in Syria. Separated by hundreds of miles, they share the experience of warfare – in Syria, a conflict that has churned along for over six years, in Yemen, a war that’s intensified since 2015. Children in both countries share an uncertain future, with the ever-present specter of illness, trauma, and death.

The People’s Convoy: We Reject The New Normal Of Attacks On Hospitals (December 22, 2016)

The brutality visited on Aleppo in recent weeks has shown the world that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no scruples about killing his own people and destroying one of the world’s once-great cities. But it’s a brutality that has been clear all along to those of us who’ve watched Assad and his allies engage in a seemingly limitless campaign to annihilate Syria’s health care infrastructure and personnel over the past five years.

Aleppo in Crisis: ‘We Have Witnessed the Defeat of the Human Spirit in Aleppo’ (December 15, 2016)

By allowing Assad to seize Aleppo by any means, the world has permitted a scorched-earth campaign against anyone who threatens the authoritarian rule of the Syrian president or Russia’s stronghold in the Middle East, writes Elise Baker of Physicians for Human Rights.

Let’s Not Pretend Scenes of Horror in Eastern Aleppo Are ‘Unexpected’ (December 6, 2016)

The humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo is tragic but not unimaginable or surprising – it is the result of years of inaction by the international community, writes Physicians for Human Rights researcher Elise Baker.

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PHR Supports Aleppo Doctors’ Plea for Safe Evacuation of Civilians (December 2016)

As Syrian government forces and their allied militias close in on eastern Aleppo city, PHR supports the lifesaving appeal by Syrian relief and medical organizations on the ground inside the besieged city.

PHR Urges Russian Medical Community to Protect Health in Syria (December 2016)

PHR joins medical colleagues around the world in urging the Russian medical community to demand that its government ease the health care crisis in Syria.

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.

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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 »