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For Immediate Release

PHR Comments on UN Security Council Vote

Media Contact

Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS

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

New York, NY - 05/22/2014

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today criticized Russia and China’s refusal to refer the Syria crisis to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“While the U.N. Security Council should ensure justice for all victims of crimes under international law, its failure to act is particularly disturbing when civilians are overwhelmingly bearing the brunt of these atrocities,” said Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director. “There is no shortage of evidence of war crimes in Syria, including deliberate and systematic attacks on medical facilities and personnel, which have accelerated the humanitarian crisis. A vote against referral favors politics over human lives, and fails the people of Syria in desperate need of assistance from the international community.”

PHR last week released an interactive map documenting 150 attacks on hospitals and other health care facilities in Syria, which constitute crimes against humanity due to their systematic nature. Government forces were responsible for 90 percent of the attacks over the last three years.

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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