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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.

Less Than a Third of Aleppo’s Hospitals Functioning; 95% of Doctors Have Fled, Been Detained or Killed (November 18, 2015)

The Syrian government’s assault on eastern Aleppo city, which includes 45 attacks on medical facilities in the past three years, has decimated the city’s health care system.

Governors Who Say They Will Close Doors on Syrian Refugees Pander to Fear and Ignorance (November 16, 2015)

PHR is appalled by the declarations of the U.S. governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, that they will not allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states.

Russian Forces Carried Out at Least 10 Attacks on Medical Facilities in Syria in October (November 16, 2015)

PHR has confirmed that Russian forces were responsible for at least 10 attacks on medical facilities in October, resulting in the death of at least one medical staffer.

Die-In to #DefendDoctors in Syria Commemorated in New York (October 29, 2015)

Hundreds of health professionals and volunteers participated in a “die-in” near the United Nations today to represent the almost 700 medical personnel killed during the Syrian conflict and highlight war crimes being committed through deliberate attacks on Syria’s health care system.

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Russia Fanning the Flames in Syria (October 30, 2015)

Russia’s entrance into the Syrian conflict has made an already grim situation far worse... the nature of Russia’s military attacks, in step with Bashar al-Assad’s strategies, signals a new level of deterioration in the conflict.

‘Someone banged on my door’: 7 years after election rapes, justice still missing for Kenya survivors (October 26, 2015)

Following the elections in late 2007, Kenya endured significant atrocities, including murder, ethnic cleansing, and rape... years after that violent crisis, women are still seeking justice.

In Memoriam: Dr. Khaled Kandil (October 14, 2015)

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to see Dr. Khaled Kandil receive an award from the Syrian American Medical Society at their annual conference in Gaziantep, Turkey. He was being honored for establishing the dialysis center at Bab al-Hawa Hospital – one of the few remaining treatment centers in the opposition-held territories in Syria.

It’s About Civilian Protection (October 7, 2015)

Even in a world inured to violence, the U.S. airstrike on a Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, which killed both staff and patients, was shocking.

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Aleppo Abandoned (November 2015)

The Syrian government’s ongoing assault on health care is one of the most egregious the world has ever seen. This report focuses specifically on the state of health care in eastern Aleppo city and tells a story of courage and resilience in the face of tremendous human suffering and loss.

Forced Displacements and Destroyed Lives around Upper Paunglaung Dam in Shan State, Myanmar (October 2015)

In this report, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) builds on its previous research on land confiscations in Myanmar by using an epidemiological survey tool to assess the human rights, livelihood, and health impacts on communities displaced by the reservoir created by Paunglaung dam in southern Shan state.

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.

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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 »