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For Immediate Release

Media Availability: Winner of Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights

Cambridge, Mass - 05/26/2009

WHO

Douglas Gwatidzo, MD
Through his work with the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Dr. Gwatidzo has passionately taken action against the human rights violations of the current government. As a practicing physician and co-founder and unwavering volunteer director of ZADHR since 2002, Dr. Gwatidzo has supported beleaguered fellow health workers, mentored young medical students, provided medico-legal documentation and care for survivors of state torture and advocated in the public arena for an end to government violence.

In November 2008, Dr. Gwatidzo launched an investigation with Physicians for Human Rights into the current cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe and the utter collapse of the country's health system. This investigation has documented the closure of hospitals and clinics, breakdown in sanitation and water purification systems, the ensuing and unchecked cholera epidemic, food scarcity, interruptions in HIV/AIDS treatment, untreated tuberculosis, and new outbreaks of anthrax and malnutrition not seen in Zimbabwe. The investigation led to a 2009 Physicians for Human Rights report, Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster in Zimbabwe.

WHAT

The Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights was established in 1999 to honor Dr. Jonathan Mann and highlight the vital link between health and human rights. Sponsored in 2007 by four organizations -- Association François-Xavier Bagnoud, Health Right International, John Snow, Inc. and the Global Health Council, the award is bestowed annually to a leading practitioner in health and human rights and comes with a substantial financial reward to allow its recipients a measure of freedom to pursue their work in the important area of global health and human rights.

Despite his untimely death in a 1998 plane crash, Jonathan Mann is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the 20th century fight against global poverty, illness and social injustice.

WHEN

Dr. Gwatidzo has arrived in Washington, D.C.; he is available now for photo ops and interviews. He is accompanied by Richard Sollom, MA, MPH, Senior Researcher at Physicians for Human Rights and lead author of Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster in Zimbabwe. The Award will be presented to Dr. Gwatidzo at a special Awards Ceremony on Thursday evening, May 28, 2009.

WHERE

The Award will be presented during the Global Health Council's 36th Annual International Conference (May 26 - 30, 2009) at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

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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