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For Immediate Release

PHR Comments on Nobel Peace Prize Announcement

Media Contact

Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS

Media Relations Manager, New York
Tel: 917-679-0110

New York, NY - 10/11/2013

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which has a long history documenting and providing expertise on chemical weapons, today congratulated the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for being selected for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is currently tasked with the enormous responsibility of verifying and eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons, which have been used to destroy far too many lives,” said Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director. “The use of chemical weapons is on a long list of war crimes being committed in Syria that have created a truly horrific humanitarian crisis, and demand the world’s attention. OPCW plays a crucial role in helping ensure the ban on chemical weapons, and we hope the prestige and honor of the Nobel Peace Prize helps them carry out this important mission.”

PHR recently made fact sheets on chemical weapons available in English and Arabic in order to help educate and provide guidance for doctors and first responders in Syria. PHR has also been asking the Security Council to refer the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators of war crimes can be held accountable. In Syria, PHR has also documented attacks on medical staff and facilities, which also constitute a war crime.

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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