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For Immediate Release

Government of Egypt is Urged to Halt Attacks on Medical Establishments and Personnel

PHR demands government refrain from interfering with access to medical care for wounded

Cambridge, Mass. - 05/14/2012

In a letter to the Egyptian Ministers of Health, Defense and Interior, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today called for the Egyptian government to immediately halt all attacks on medical establishments and personnel and to refrain from interfering with the right of the wounded to access medical care.

>> Take Action to send your own letter to these officials. Tell them to stop attacking medical professionals, facilities, and wounded protestors.

PHR and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) have continually expressed concern regarding the Government of Egypt’s violations of medical neutrality since the beginning of the revolution in January 2011. PHR and EIPR have documented numerous violations, including attacks on health professionals, the improper use of tear gas, the targeting of medical transport, and the arrests of those seeking medical care.

“PHR joins the EIPR in demanding that the Egyptian government end these terrible violations against the country’s wounded and vulnerable populations,” said Donna McKay, Executive Director of PHR. “The Government must immediately reverse course and show the international community that it is committed to honoring the principle of medical neutrality and protecting the country’s injured citizens. To do this, the people who have committed these attacks must be held accountable for their actions and security forces must be properly trained about the necessity of protecting the principle of medical neutrality.”

PHR researchers conducted an investigation into these violations of medical neutrality in February 2012 and have collaborated with the EIPR to document and analyze attacks on health professionals, health facilities, medical transport, and patients. PHR firmly supports this work of the EIPR and their documentation of violations of medical neutrality.

PHR researchers have documented violations of medical neutrality across the world and throughout the Arab Spring in countries including Syria, Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya. PHR continues to push for governments to respect the principle of medical neutrality and for accountability for all those responsible for committing such attacks.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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