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For Immediate Release

PHR Seeks Balanced US Plan to Respond to Violence against Women in Darfur

Cambridge, Mass - 03/31/2010

Cambridge, MA — On the eve of the US government's expected release of a plan to address violence against women and girls in Darfur, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) renews its call for an integrated plan that balances treatment and support for violence survivors with broader programming that reduces vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence.

While much of the world's attention in Sudan is now focused on the April 2010 elections and peace talks in Doha, Qatar, humanitarian needs on the ground in Darfur remain acute. Programming targeted to address the needs of women and girls was severely disrupted last year following the Government of Sudan's expulsion of 13 international and three national non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“Addressing the epidemic of violence against women and girls in Darfur makes a future peace more sustainable,” says Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director of PHR.

A new PHR briefing paper, Action Agenda for Realizing Treatment and Support for Women and Girls in Darfur, outlines current conditions in the region and suggests measures that the US government, as the largest bilateral donor in Darfur, should take to improve the welfare of women and girls.

Violence against women and girls is a stated priority of General Scott Gration, who has been the US special envoy to Sudan for the past 12 months. His office is expected to release details of a multi-year plan on sexual and gender-based violence this week.

Since 2004, PHR has documented the systematic displacement, killing, and human rights abused perpetrated against Darfurian civilians.

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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