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For Immediate Release

Lift of Global Gag Rule Signifies End of Ideologically Driven AIDS Agenda

Cambridge, Mass - 01/23/2009

(Cambridge, Mass.) PHR commends President Barack Obama for lifting the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, by Executive Order on January 23.

Said PHR CEO Frank Donaghue, "Lifting the Global Gag Rule is a major victory for women's health and for human rights around the world. The Global Gag Rule has eroded family planning and reproductive health services in developing countries, even as maternal and infant mortality remains shockingly high in many countries. This policy change, made in the first week of Barack Obama's presidency, signals a shift away from the ideologically driven health policies of the Bush Administration and ushers in new hope for women's human right to health worldwide.”

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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