Stop Rape in War
Every year, tens of thousands of women, girls, men, and boys endure sexual violence during and after armed conflict. The crisis is acute in many countries around the world, including those where the International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently investigating mass atrocities: Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. Learn more about the program.
PHR, Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels are launching an international campaign. Help create a world without war, rape, and gender violence where women and men are equal—join the campaign.
According to international law, using rape as a weapon of war is a war crime. Despite this legal protection, in dozens of global conflicts, armies have used rape as a tactic of war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide with impunity.
Through our medical and forensic documentation of rape in conflict areas, we work with local partners and the growing international campaign to end rape in war by:
- Assuring greater accountability for mass rape by training doctors, nurses, lawyers, police, and judges to thoroughly and accurately document evidence of rape for use in courts.
- Raising awareness regarding local cultures of impunity that allow women to be raped.
- Enabling survivors to obtain justice, including reparations for their suffering.
Mass rapes in Darfur effectively terrorize the people, break their will, and destroy the fabric of society. In addition to causing horrific mental and physical trauma, rape has serious social and economic consequences in Darfurian society. Victims are often ineligible for marriage, and are ostracized by the community and even their own families.
UN Commission on the Status of Women Affirms International Dedication to Ending All Forms of Violence Against Women (March 19, 2013)
United Nations member states ended the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) by adopting agreed conclusions that affirmed international dedication to ending all forms of violence against women.
PHR Joins Coalition to Arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (March 6, 2013)
Four years ago today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including killings, rape, and torture. On July 12, 2010, Bashir was also charged with three counts of genocide.
PHR is hoping that the 57th session of the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), an international forum that has dedicated this session to the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, will galvanize efforts around the world to achieve that goal.
A Congolese Hero is Welcomed Home (January 15, 2013)
In October, 2012, Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and renowned gynecological surgeon who has treated thousands of victims of sexual assault and brutal rape, was the target of an assassination attempt in his home in Bukavu. His family was terrorized, and his trusted aide and guard, Joseph Bizimana, was murdered while defending Dr. Mukwege. After the attack, the Mukwege family left the DRC and took refuge in Belgium, and then in the US for several weeks. His absence from Panzi was keenly felt, and his return the cause of much joy. PHR’s DRC Coordinator, Caroline Dauber, describes his homecoming.
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Foreign Secretary, William Hague announces new UK funds to help survivors of rape during a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (gov.uk, March 26, 2013)
Foreign Secretary, William Hague, today announced £205,288 ($312,110) in new UK funding to support the work of Physicians for Human Rights working out of the Panzi Hospital in eastern DRC, to help efforts to develop local and national capacity to document and collect evidence of sexual violence.
Congolese Warlord Must Now Face ICC Trial on War Crimes Charges (March 19, 2013)
PHR welcomes the news that notorious warlord Bosco Ntaganda has voluntarily entered US custody in Rwanda and agreed to face trial on war crime charges at the International Criminal Court.
A Somali appeals court’s decision this week to overturn the conviction of a woman who claimed she was gang-raped by security forces is a welcome development, PHR said today. A regional court last month had sentenced the woman to a year in prison, contending that she had fabricated the rape charge and damaged state security.
PHR applauds yesterday’s vote by the House of Representatives to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and urges Congress to extend such coverage to all women around the world by passing the International Violence Against Women Act.
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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict today has urged the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to conclude the session with a strong communiqué that will pave the way for accelerated action to end gender violence.
In a letter to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, two PHR medical advisors who are experts in sexual violence evaluations urge him to void the use of unscientific medical evidence used to convict a Somali woman of making a false claim of having been gang-raped by soldiers. Both the woman and a journalist who interviewed her have been sentenced to a year in prison.
PHR Endorses Statement of International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict on the Attack Against Dr. Denis Mukwege (October 2012)
Physicians for Human Rights, a founding Advisory Committee member of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict, strongly endorses the statement the Campaign released today following the violent attack last week on our esteemed colleague Dr. Denis Mukwege in Bukavu, DRC.
Grading the Benchmarks (April 2010)
Now, almost six months after the policy review, an honest accounting of the "benchmarks" for progress in Sudan suggests how much important work remains to be done if broader conflict is to be avoided.
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Susannah Sirkin oversees PHR’s international policy engagement including our work with the United Nations, domestic and international justice systems and human rights coalitions. Sirkin is also responsible for managing and multiplying PHR’s strategic partnerships globally, expanding our volunteers from the medical and scientific community, and increasing our partnerships with NGOs, medical institutions, and other relationships that can enhance PHR’s effectiveness and grow the field of human rights activists. Read More »