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For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights to Host Panels & Film Screening at Global Summit on Sexual Violence

Medical, Law Enforcement, and Judicial Experts from Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Among Participants at London event

Media Contact

Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS

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

London - 06/04/2014

Experts from the medical, law enforcement, and justice fields from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, the United States, and other countries will discuss how these sectors can work together to help collect, document, and preserve forensic evidence of sexual violence and prosecute these cases at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will host three events and bring a delegation of 32 from seven countries, including doctors, lawyers, police investigators, and judges with experience at local and international courts. The summit will be held from June 10-13. Co-chaired by U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, it is expected to be the largest global gathering on the issue to date. Experts from PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones - who also worked on a protocol about documenting sexual violence cases that will be unveiled at the summit - will be available to media in London all week.

“This global summit provides an opportunity to help ensure that nurses, doctors, police officers, lawyers, and judges use forensic medical evidence to help prosecute sexual violence crimes,” said Karen Naimer, director of PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones. “Fostering collaboration across medical, law enforcement, and legal fields is vital for ending the cycle of abuse in conflict.”

The following sessions on Wednesday, June 11, are open to the media:

From 4:30-6pm, PHR will hold a panel discussion, “Building a network of medical, law enforcement, and justice professionals to strengthen documentation and evidence.” The session will demonstrate the response that medical, police, legal, and judicial sectors can offer to survivors seeking justice for sexual violence crimes. It will include a premiere screening of a 15-minute film on PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones and the impact of its work in Kenya and the DRC. The panel will include:

  • Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s director of international policy and partnerships
  • Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and director of Panzi Hospital in the DRC
  • Dr. Coleen Kivlahan, a PHR medical advisor
  • Dr. Muriel Volpellier, a PHR expert consultant in the DRC
  • Dr. Thierry Nasibu of the General Reference Hospital of Minova, DRC
  • Col. Freddy Mukendi, councilor of the High Military Court of Kinshasa, DRC
  • Major David Bodeli, chief of the Childhood and Women Protection Police Unit in Goma, DRC

From 6-7pm, PHR will hold a panel, “Harnessing the power of technology to improve accountability for sexual violence.” This event will include a discussion about MediCapt, PHR’s innovative mobile application for collection of forensic medical evidence of sexual violence cases, and how technology can shift the way evidence is collected. The event will include:

  • Karen Naimer, director of PHR’s Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones Program
  • Sucharita Varanasi, PHR senior program officer
  • Dr. Sandrine Masango Kaboya of the General Reference Hospital of Uvira, DRC
  • Dr. Thierry Nasibu of the General Reference Hospital of Minova, DRC
  • Dr. Ranit Mishori, a PHR expert medical consultant

PHR will also host a session with distinguished judges who sit on international and national courts and tribunals, who will discuss the evidentiary gaps and challenges of adjudicating sexual violence cases. While this session is by invitation-only and off the record, PHR can help arrange interviews with many of the participants.

More information about PHR’s role at the summit and related materials can be found here.

More information about PHR’s Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones can be found here.

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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