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Stopping Mass Rape in East and Central Africa

PHR is focusing on five countries where mass crimes, including sexual violence, are also being pursued by the International Criminal Court: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and the Central African Republic. This project aims to improve the quality and quantity of medical evidence of sexual violence as an essential strategy to end impunity for individual and mass rape in these countries.

PHR is currently conducting two sexual violence forensic evidence test cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over a four-month period this summer. During this time PHR forensic experts will demonstrate best practices in medical evidence documentation and prosecution to a select group of local doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, judges and police officers through on-site field training. PHR staff will follow these two cases from pre-trial health evaluation to post trial impact assessment. Lesson learned from this pilot program will be applied to our work in the other countries.

A Crime against our Humanity (December 10, 2014)

Today, the 65th annual celebration of Human Rights Day, we must reflect on the need to treat sexual violence as a pressing human rights concern.

The Lasting Effects of Sexual Violence (December 4, 2014)

I remember my feelings of shock and helplessness after learning about traumatic fistula, which – in addition to its debilitating physical symptoms – leads victims to be shunned and isolated from their communities. Traumatic fistulas are common in conflict and post-conflict settings, and are often the result of violent rape coupled with deliberate damage.

Changing the Narrative on Sexual Violence in the DRC (November 26, 2014)

This week in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament bestows its most prestigious human rights award, the Sakharov Prize, to Dr. Denis Mukwege, who is world-renowned for the struggle to prevent rape in the war-ravaged and underdeveloped Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Moving Forward to End Sexual Violence (November 25, 2014)

PHR has helped local activists create numerous self-governing medical-legal networks across Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help facilitate collaboration and cooperation among medical professionals, legal and judicial experts, the media, local communities, and NGOs.

More East and Central Africa Posts »

International Criminal Court Withdraws Charges Against President Kenyatta (December 5, 2014)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague said today it was withdrawing charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. The court’s prosecutor said the Kenyan government failed to cooperate during the investigation, compromising the case.

Physicians for Human Rights to Host Panels & Film Screening at Global Summit on Sexual Violence (June 4, 2014)

Experts from the medical, law enforcement, and justice fields from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, the United States, and other countries will discuss how these sectors can work together to help collect, document, and preserve forensic evidence of sexual violence and prosecute these cases at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London.

ICC Finds Germain Katanga Guilty of War Crimes, but Acquits Him of Sexual Violence Charges (March 7, 2014)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today found Germain Katanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) guilty of war crimes, but acquitted him of sexual offences in the first case that specifically involved these charges.

Thunderclap to End Sexual Violence in Conflict (Human Rights at FCO, September 24, 2013)

Join Human Rights at FCO in sharing this message together at the same time - automatically: “I am calling for all UN countries to sign up to end the use of #sexualviolence in #conflict. It's #TimeToAct http://thndr.it/TGOAeN.”

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Prepared Remarks: Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Plenary Panel Session on Cooperation and Sexual and Gender Based Crimes (December 2014)

Susannah Sirkin, director of international policy and partnerships at PHR, attended and presented at the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Plenary Panel Session on Cooperation and Sexual and Gender Based Crimes on December 11, 2014.

States Should Not Issue Blanket Quarantine Orders for Medical Workers Returning from Ebola-Stricken Countries (October 2014)

The decision by several states, including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York, to impose a mandatory quarantine on health workers – mostly volunteers – returning from the three countries in West Africa where there is a significant Ebola outbreak should be reversed.

Summary of Roundtable Discussion (June 2014)

PHR convened a Roundtable on Reparations for Survivors of Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University on February 24, 2014. This report summarizes major points of discussion from this workshop.

A Call to Action for States (June 2014)

The Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones at Physicians for Human Rights urges all states to take important steps to ensure justice and accountability for crimes of sexual violence.

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Featured Expert

Susannah Sirkin

Susannah Sirkin, MEd

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 »