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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.

Physicians for Human Rights Welcomes Lifting of Travel Ban for Bahraini Human Rights Activist (October 1, 2014)

PHR today welcomed the decision by a Bahraini court to lift the travel ban on Maryam al-Khawaja, but remained concerned about the spurious charges that remain against her.

Judge Allows Case Against Turkish Medical Association to Proceed (September 30, 2014)

PHR today criticized an Ankara judge’s decision to proceed with a lawsuit against the Turkish Medical Association (TMA), which did its job by mobilizing medical personnel to provide emergency care to demonstrators injured during the Gezi Park protests.

As U.S.-Afghanistan Sign Troop Deal, CIA-Backed Warlord Behind Massacre of 2,000 POWs Sworn-In as VP (Democracy Now, September 30, 2014)

Afghanistan has inaugurated its first new president in a decade, swearing in Ashraf Ghani to head a power-sharing government. Joining him on stage Monday was Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s new vice president. Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords, once described by Ghani himself as a "known killer." Dostum’s rise to the vice presidency comes despite his involvement in a 2001 massacre that killed up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war.

Doctors Reporting Injuries from U.S.-Led Air Strikes in Syria (September 25, 2014)

A doctor at one hospital near Idlib, in northern Syria, reported that his hospital treated 40 wounded patients over three hours as a result of the U.S.-led air strikes early Wednesday morning.

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Recognizing Dr. Denis Mukwege and His Inspirational Fight against Sexual Violence (October 23, 2014)

Our dear friend and medical partner Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was announced the winner of the Sakharov Prize.

Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence (October 2, 2014)

When studying in Jordan last fall, I was stunned by the silence around sexual violence experienced by women in Syrian refugee camps. In Arab communities, where social stigma and family honor carry huge weight, consequences of sexual violence extend far beyond scarring psychological trauma to fear of alienation and even honor killing.

Syria’s Forgotten Civilians (September 26, 2014)

As atrocities committed by the self-declared Islamic State (IS), also called ISIS or ISIL, dominate media headlines, we must not forget the civilians who have been suffering since long before IS gained a stronghold in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Justice Must Precede Development (September 25, 2014)

While investment in Burma’s infrastructure is welcome, support for development without also addressing accountability and reconciliation perpetuates impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations.

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Syria's Medical Community Under Assault (October 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.

Prepared Remarks - Health Care & Violence: The Need for Effective Protection (September 2014)

PHR attended and presented at the high-level debate, Health Care & Violence: The Need for Effective Protection, at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2014.

NGOs Welcome Unprecedented Step Towards Increased Aid in Syria (July 2014)

Physicians for Human Rights and partner NGOs welcome the United Nations Security Council resolution, which directly authorizes UN agencies and their implementing partners to deliver aid across Syria’s borders and conflict lines.

Student Toolkit (May 2014)

This student toolkit provides comprehensive information on the principle of medical neutrality – which ensures safe access to medical facilities, protects health care workers and their patients, and allows medical workers to provide unbiased care.

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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 »