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National Student Program

Join PHR’s National Student Program and register your school’s chapter.

PHR’s National Student Program engages medical students and other young health professionals from across the United States who are interested in the intersection of health and human rights. The program provides medical students with the necessary resources and training to develop the skills and experience required to advocate for human rights.

Students organize local, direct actions on human rights issues; raise awareness on their campuses, in local communities, and in the media; organize educational events; and urge elected officials to take action through lobby days and by responding to PHR action alerts. PHR student chapters on medical school campuses represent every region of the country, indicating sincere interest in the intersection of health and human rights among young people. Since they represent the next generation of medical professionals, PHR is fortunate to have such a vibrant community of students interested in using their skills to support rights for all.

PHR collaborates with the student chapters through on-campus trainings in human rights at PHR’s asylum clinics at select universities, and by participating in national student conferences. Each chapter has its own set of leaders and organizes awareness-raising activities, educational events, and actions to promote human rights. Students are encouraged to develop their own projects in consultation with the national office, and all PHR chapters are encouraged to seek recognition from their university to facilitate the promotion of human rights education in their training as health professionals. You can learn more about the student program by visiting their website.

The program is overseen by PHR’s National Student Advisory Board. Members of the board bring a diverse range of experience and backgrounds to the program.

The program has created PHR Toolkits to provide students with relevant information and tools:

U.S. National Security Advisor Attacks International Justice and Accountability (September 10, 2018)

White House National Security Advisor, John Bolton, today called the International Criminal Court (ICC) “fundamentally illegitimate” and threatened to ban its judges and prosecutors from the United States.

Survivors of International Crimes Still Await Justice on 20th Anniversary of Rome Statute (July 17, 2018)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said today that the promise of justice for international crimes remains elusive 20 years after the adoption of the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Rome Statute, which provides the most comprehensive legal articulation of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, gave rise to a permanent international criminal court to intervene where states are either “unwilling or unable” to do so themselves. In the two decades since the adoption of the Rome Statute, the ICC has been thwarted by politics, the court’s cumbersome structure, and resource constraints, which have made it difficult to deliver meaningful justice to the many hundreds of thousands of victims affected by unconscionable crimes.

U.S. Withdrawal from Human Rights Council Undermines Accountability (June 19, 2018)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is deeply disappointed and concerned by the United States government’s decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, a move it called counterproductive and damaging.

Civilians Must Be Protected as Hudeidah Comes Under Assault (June 13, 2018)

Physicians for Human Rights is horrified by an attack launched today by the Saudi-led coalition on the Yemeni city of Hudeidah, despite repeated calls for all parties to exercise military restraint on this vital port which serves as a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of civilians.

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A Brewing Humanitarian Catastrophe as the Battle for Idlib Looms (August 30, 2018)

The Syrian government is gearing up for a full-scale offensive on the city of Idlib, the last remaining opposition stronghold. The implications for the civilian population are catastrophic.

Yazidis: The Endless Tragedy (August 3, 2018)

ISIS has been defeated and the organizational structure of its so-called Islamic State has collapsed, liberating almost all its occupied territories. However, the tragedy for the people of the religious Yazidi minority continues.

DNA Technology and the Denial of Justice for Survivors of Sexual Violence (November 29, 2017)

DNA analysis is often lauded as an invaluable tool for prosecutors. But it’s not a panacea, and our exaggerated dependence on it threatens to derail countless cases of sexual violence.

PHR Awarded 2017 Dodd Prize in Human Rights (November 28, 2017)

On November 2, 2017, Physicians for Human Rights received the 2017 Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in Storrs, Connecticut. As part of the formal award ceremony, former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd and the Center’s leadership presented PHR Executive Director Donna McKay and board chairman Kerry Sulkowicz with the award.

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Yemen: Attacks on Health May 2018 Newsletter (May 2018)

Despite efforts to renew peace talks, the Yemen conflict reached its third anniversary in March 2018 and has left 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid, nearly 9,500 dead, 55,000 injured, and two million displaced over the past three years. As fighting intensified in al-Hudaydah and Taizz Governorates, humanitarian agencies expressed increasing concern about the safety of civilians.

Joint Letter to Turkish President Erdoğan Condemning Persecution of Medical Professionals (January 2018)

PHR has signed a joint letter to Turkish President Erdoğan expressing grave concern over the ongoing persecution of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA). The TMA’s leadership was arrested this week following days of threats and protests over a recent statement by the group criticizing war as a public health threat.

PHR Remembers its Founder, Dr. Jonathan Fine (January 2018)

Dr. Jonathan Fine (1931-2018), who died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 17, 2018, was the founder and first executive director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). A primary care physician raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, Fine was already a student activist as an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, before going on to receive his medical training at Yale University and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University.

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