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For Immediate Release

APHA’s Annual Meeting to Feature PHR Experts

Cambridge, Mass - 10/19/2011

At this year’s American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Washington DC, PHR experts will present on a number of topics, including the Millennium Development Goals, the health of displaced populations and refugees, and medical neutrality in Bahrain.

PHR’s Asylum Program Director, Christy Fujio, will be featured in two separate panel discussions:

Displaced Populations & Refugee Health
Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM
Mandatory detention in US immigration centers can compound health problems for immigrants who are already suffering from chronic health conditions due to persecution in their countries of origin. The immigrants may spend significant periods in detention, receiving sub-standard medical care and/or having difficulty accessing necessary physical and mental health services. Those unable to legalize their immigration status often experience rapid, substantial, and sometimes irreversible deterioration of health.  However, health professionals who provide forensic medical evaluations to victims of human rights abuses can play a critical role in helping legalize their status so that they can re-build their lives and begin healing in the U.S.

Role of the U.N. Millennium Goals in advancing women’s health and human rights
Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:30 AM
Sexual and gender-based violence is a global public health epidemic, particularly in Africa. Tens of thousands of women and girls have been and continue to be sexually assaulted and raped by government troops, rebel forces, and civilians. Perpetrators are rarely, if ever, punished. Such impunity reinforces a value system that silences and subordinates women and girls. Without justice and redress for survivors of sexual violence, fulfillment of MDG 3 (gender equality) is impossible. Physicians for Human Rights has recently launched a project that builds capacity of local health, legal, and law enforcement professionals in their efforts to collect evidence to prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence. Such prosecutions, combined with medical and psycho-social services for survivors, will heal and empower women and promote gender equality in their communities.

PHR’s Deputy Director, Richard Sollom, will be featured in a panel discussion:

Health and Human Rights Under Oppressive Governments
Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM’
Physicians for Human Rights investigated severe violations of medical neutrality in Bahrain in April 2011 and in Libya in June and September 2011. Medical neutrality ensures the protection of medical personnel, patients, facilities, and transport from attack or interference; unhindered access to medical care and treatment for all; the humane treatment of all civilians; and nondiscriminatory treatment of the injured and sick. Panel participants will identify the linkages between professional medical ethics, human rights law, and international humanitarian law, and compare current violations of medical neutrality in Bahrain with those occurring in the rest of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA).

The APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world, attracting more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists. APHA's meeting program addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health. The 2011 APHA Annual Meeting will be held at the Washington Convention Center, October 29- November 2, 2011.

For more information on the presentations or to speak with Fujio or Sollom regarding their presentations, please contact Megan Prock at mprock(at)phrusa.org.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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