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For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights Applauds Historic Step for LGBT Rights

Cambridge, Mass - 07/23/2010

Physicians for Human Rights applauds the UN's recent decision to accredit the US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

"President Obama was correct when he characterized the UN's recognition of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as an important step forward for human rights," said Physicians for Human Rights CEO Frank Donaghue. "Around the world, the LGBT community is at heightened risk because of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. More than 80 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy, and in the worst cases, the LGBT population is attacked, tortured, and even murdered. Simply put, protecting people's health is the first step in to protecting human rights."

"At PHR, we've seen that solutions to complex, seemingly intractable problems such as the AIDS epidemic require the participation of those who best understand their own needs. By recognizing the IGLHRC, the UN has given them a critical place at the table where they can push for accountability, non-discrimination in health care and a continued focus on marginalized populations. However, this is only a start-of the some 3,000 NGOs granted consultative status, only ten focus primarily on LGBT rights."

"We also commend the Obama Administration for pushing the UN to recognize the IGLHRC. In 2009, the President responded to our collective call to drop the HIV Travel Ban, which had barred those who tested positive for HIV/AIDs from entering the US. By supporting the accreditation of the IGLHRC, he's continuing to promote our nation's commitment to fairness and inclusion. Thanks are due as well to the 14 members of Congress, including Representative Barney Frank (MA), who called upon the UN to approve IGLHRC's application."

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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