Today the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. PHR applauds Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, and the staff of the State Department for their tireless work in producing these reports, which catalog a number of human rights violations in nearly 200 countries during 2011.
In February 2011, the Government of Bahrain began targeting health professionals who treated protesters. In April 2012, PHR's Richard Sollom, Deputy Director, and Holly Atkinson, MD, FACP, past President of PHR's Board and volunteer expert, authored a report showing the devastation on Bahrain's health system that have resulted from the Government of Bahrain’s continued assault on doctors, patients, and the healthcare system.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced today an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that restricts the sale of tear gas and riot control items to Middle East and North Africa countries undergoing a transition to democracy. The amendment, which successfully passed the US House of Representatives, requires the Secretary of Defense to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the security forces of such governments are not using excessive force to repress peaceful protesters before such items would be provided.
Following the final day of the trial for 20 Bahraini medical professionals who were convicted of charges including occupying a hospital and attempting to overthrow the government, PHR today called for the court to expunge all politically motivated charges.
Syria’s failure to withdraw troops from urban areas this morning was a disappointment. The country had agreed to a withdrawal under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. Rather than abide by its commitment, the Government of Syria has instead continued to attack civilians after the deadline.