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For Immediate Release

Richard Sollom Addresses House of Representatives on Violations of Medical Neutrality

Cambridge, Mass - 03/06/2012

Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of PHR, spoke on March 7, 2012 to Congressional staff on the growing need to address violations of medical neutrality around the globe. 

Sollom made recommendations for steps the United States can take to ensure that the protection of medical neutrality becomes a foreign policy priority. These steps include withholding military assistance from countries that are violating medical neutrality, banning key violators from entering the US, and improving reporting mechanisms for tracking these violations.

Sollom was joined by Dr. Nils Daulaire, Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services and the US Representative to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, and by Leonard Rubenstein, Faculty with the Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

PHR has documented a rising number of targeted attacks on medical professionals and facilities in the past year. However, the United States has not had a coherent response to the violations. 

PHR has repeatedly called upon the United States government to take a strong stand to protect health access in places of armed conflict, and was instrumental in drafting the Medical Neutrality Protection Act of 2011 (HR 2643), a bipartisan bill which will authorize a stronger response to violations of medical neutrality around the globe.

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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