PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (PHR)
„Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity, and justice and promotes the right to health for all. Harnessing the specialized skills, rigor, and passion of doctors, nurses, public health specialists, and scientists, PHR investigates human rights abuses and works to stop them.“ (PHR Website, http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/about/mission.html, accessed on 7 March 2008)
„PHR promotes health by protecting human rights. PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.“ (InterAction, American Council for Voluntary Action, http://www.interaction.org/members/detail.php?id=158, accessed on 7 March 2008)
In 1986 “Dr. Jonathan Fine took a group of American physicians to Chile to seek release of doctors imprisoned for their political activities. So began Physicians for Human Rights. PHR experts conducted clinical evaluations to assess whether torture had taken place, investigated politically motivated killings and protested interference with medical services during conflicts. They recruited doctors, nurses and public health professionals to speak out.” (Physicians for Human Rights: 20 Years of Advancing Health, Dignity and Justice; Annual Report 2005–2006, http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/about/annual-report/pdf/ar05_06_complete.pdf, accessed on 28 May 2008)
National and international policy makers, governments, courts, decision-makers, media, health professionals, NGOs, public.
“The three components for PHR's program work, Campaigns and Advocacy, Education and Training, and Missions and Investigations, have been the cornerstone of PHR's mission over the last fifteen years. PHR has worked to stop torture, disappearances and political killings by governments and opposition groups; has worked to improve health and sanitary conditions in prisons and detention centres; has investigated physical and psychological consequences of violations of humanitarian law in internal and international conflicts; has defended medical neutrality and the right of civilians and combatants to receive medical care during times of war; has protected health professionals who are victims of violations of human rights; and has worked to prevent medical complicity in torture and other abuses. PHR conducts educational and training projects for health professionals, members of the judiciary, and human rights advocates on the application of medical and forensic skills in the investigation of violations of human rights.” (InterAction, American Council for Voluntary Action, http://www.interaction.org/members/detail.php?id=158, accessed on 7 March 2008)
PHR projects and investigations are funded by individuals, foundations and organisations. Its major supporters are the Argosy Foundation, the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John Merck Fund, the Oak Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the A. M. Fund, Arnold Hiatt, the Gregory C. Carr Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Susan Vitka and others (Physicians for Human Rights: 20 Years of Advancing Health, Dignity and Justice; Annual Report 2005–2006, http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/about/annual-report/pdf/ar05_06_complete.pdf, accessed on 28 May 2008).
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: All countries worldwide; countries where PHR conducted investigations are Afghanistan, Iraq, Peru, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Russian Federation (Chechnya), India, Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Nigeria, Sudan and Libya.
Thematic focus: Health in civil society (HIV/AIDS, health systems – adequate medicine, infrastructure and basic sanitation, racial and ethnic disparities in health care, violations of the right to health; gender-based violence and discrimination, including rape, domestic violence, FGM, sexual slavery, trafficking, socio-political marginalisation, inadequate access to health care); human rights in professional practice (discrimination of patients based on ethnic or other grounds); human rights in armed conflict (landmines, chemical weapons, medical neutrality, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide); rights of people in custody (torture, prison conditions and abuses); military and police brutality; abuses committed against health workers (PHR Website, http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/investigations/, accessed on 22 May 2008).
“Drawing on rigorous medical, scientific, and public health methods has been a foundation of PHR's investigations since its earliest days. The collection of physical evidence, review and analysis of medical records, and direct clinical observation and examination add great weight to PHR's research and investigation products. Increasingly, PHR has also gathered population-based data using epidemiological methods and expertise in public health. Using survey methodologies, PHR teams have quantified the health consequences of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” (PHR Website, http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/investigations/about/, accessed on 22 May 2008)
PHR sends teams of doctors, nurses, public health specialists and scientists to investigate human rights abuses in conflict zones, prisons and countries/regions where the right to health is violated.
Some reports result from joint projects of PHR and other NGOs from around the world.
Fieldwork of the PHR team is realised with the help of local NGOs, which help with investigation, facilitate the team’s interviews with health officials and access to health facilities, help with translations, assist in obtaining written information and making contacts with key informants and coordinate logistical preparation for fieldwork. Some of the investigations require various trips to the country concerned (including a preliminary trip in order to meet with local partners and conduct preliminary meetings and interviews).
After the trips the report on its findings is written and reviewed in whole or part by experts in the field concerned (see various PHR reports).
Annual reports: 2005-06, 2003-04, 2002, 2000, 1999.
The Record – PHR Newsletter is published approximately once a year.
Press releases as well as reports are published sporadically.
Navigation of website:
Home: Latest news and press releases.
Reports and press releases may be accessed at the Resources (PHR Library) and Press sections.