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For Immediate Release

New Report: Syrian Forces Launched Assault on Country’s Medical System

Report includes new evidence of government forces denying wounded civilians medical treatment

Cambridge, Mass. - 12/16/2011

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today released a report detailing the Syrian government’s all-out assault on the country’s medical system. PHR’s report includes new and alarming evidence that government forces deny wounded civilians impartial medical treatment; invade, attack, and misuse hospitals; attack and impede medical transport, and detain and torture doctors for treating wounded civilians. These documented attacks illustrate the broader violence that the Syrian people have endured over the past several months. 

“Wounded protesters who are seeking much needed medical attention often face fatal repercussions,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director at PHR. “Hospitals are supposed to be a place of healing, but instead patients are being dragged away by security forces for interrogation and torture. As a result, the medical personnel who treat these individuals risk not only their career, but also their lives.”

PHR interviewed more than a dozen Syrian doctors, nurses, and hospital volunteers. An estimated 250 doctors have been arrested or interrogated for treating injured protesters in Syria. Some Syrian doctors have established an underground network of makeshift clinics to which they smuggle medical supplies to care for the injured. 

The Assad regime’s direct assault on Syria’s hospitals, doctors, and patients, is in clear violation of the principle of medical neutrality. PHR calls on the Syrian government to respect the principle of medical neutrality and commit to providing emergency medical treatment to all citizens without discrimination. PHR also calls on:

  • The Syrian government to bring to justice all perpetrators of the grave human rights violations documented in this report.
  • The Arab League to continue its commitment to placing international and Arab monitors in Syria to observe the country’s ongoing unrest.
  • The U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

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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