PHR in the News
A court in Bahrain sentenced 23 medical professionals to three-month jail terms on charges that included supporting protesters during the early weeks of the uprising last year. The US-based Physicians for Human Rights group expressed dismay at the decision.
The international war tribunal set up to prosecute those responsible for the atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war is known for its first-time indictments of rape as a war crime. Sexual and gender-based violence was the most reported form of human rights abuse in Sierra Leone's conflict, and PHR found that more than half the women who encountered rebels suffered some form of sexual violence.
PHR Deputy Director Susannah Sirkin participated this week in a high-level consultation hosted by the British Government to respond to sexual violence in conflict zones. Experts from governments, UN agencies and NGOs gathered for three days to develop new ways of thinking about preventing sexual violence and providing survivors with services and access to justice. At the close of this gathering, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague delivered a powerful call to action.
Nearly five months after being acquitted of crimes related to Bahrain’s anti-government uprising, some Shi’ite medics remain suspended from work and fear they may never practice medicine in the country again. A senior researcher with Physicians for Human Rights, Abdulrazzaq al-Saiedi, says he believes the government is behind the ongoing interrogations.
In the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue of torture has attracted the attention of the media, health organizations, and political activists. This year, State Senator Thomas Duane and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried sponsored a unique piece of legislation, which is publicly endorsed by the former president of Physicians for Human Rights, that establishes sanctions for state-licensed health professionals who participate in torture or improper treatment of prisoners.