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For Immediate Release

PHR Refutes False Report from Zimbabwe State-Controlled Broadcaster

Cambridge, Mass - 12/24/2008

PHR refutes false reports from Zimbabwe’s state-controlled broadcaster, ZBC News, on the activities of the highly-respected organization, which recently undertook an assessment of the country’s collapsed health care system.

"Yesterday, ZBC News falsely reported the exposure of ‘four bogus physicians for human rights’ and falsely accused PHR of aiding the opposition," stated PHR’s CEO Frank Donaghue. "PHR is an independent, nonpartisan organization and does not support or act on behalf of any political party in Zimbabwe or elsewhere. We came to Zimbabwe for the sole purpose of assessing the country’s health system, which even the government has acknowledged as a legitimate reason for being there.

Four individuals from the U.S. and South Africa – including two physicians who are experts in public health – comprised PHR’s team. We examined how the cholera epidemic is a symptom of a collapsed health system and decayed sanitary infrastructure, especially in urban areas that house the poor. In keeping with our mission, members of our team met with a range of ordinary citizens as well as practitioners in Harare and rural Zimbabwe who are working on sanitation, maternal health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, the nutrition and food crisis, and other issues of public health. Our purpose was not to engage in political activity, but to offer an objective assessment of the serious and systemic public health issues faced by the people of Zimbabwe. The team has safely returned home; PHR’s report will be forthcoming."

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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