Source description last updated: 14 August 2020
In brief: Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a US-based non-governmental, not-profit organisation founded in 1986 that documents and advocates against atrocities and human rights violations by using medicine and science.
Coverage on ecoi.net:
Covered quarterly on ecoi.net for countries of priorities A, B and C
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) “advocates for a world where all people live in dignity, free from fear and free from want” (PHR website: We Advocate, undated). „We work at the intersection of medicine, science, and law to secure human rights and justice for all. We investigate and document human rights violations, give voice to survivors and witnesses, and plant seeds of reconciliation by ensuring that perpetrators can be held accountable for their crimes. […]
PHR uses our core disciplines – science, medicine, forensics, and public health – to inform our research and investigations and to strengthen the skills of frontline human rights defenders. We work closely with hundreds of partners around the world, using facts to wage effective advocacy and campaigning and providing critical scientific evidence so that survivors can seek justice.” (PHR website: About Us, undated)
PHR has “mobilized health professionals, forensic scientists, and other experts worldwide to investigate and expose allegations of abuse. We […] meticulously document evidence of sexual violence, torture, and other violations. Our experts investigate extra-judicial killings and supervise exhumations of mass graves.” (PHR website: We Document, undated)
Amongst lPHR is funded through grants from foundations and governments, which in the fiscal year ending June 2019 accounted for 57.6 per cent of the organisation’s operating revenue. Other sources of income include in-kind contributions (21.1 per cent) and contributions from individuals (19.8 per cent). (PHR: Physicians for Human Rights 2019 Annual Report, June 2020, p. 29)
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: Special focus countries include Afghanistan, Cambodia, Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar and Bangladesh, Nigeria, Russia (including Chechnya), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen.
Thematic focus: killings/mass atrocities, sexual violence, weapons, attacks on healthcare, harm inflicted by doctors, asylum and persecution etc.
Reports may be based on semi-structured interviews combined with structured clinical evaluations conducted by PHR clinician researchers with survivors and witnesses, who may include health professionals (see, for example, PHR: “Chaos and Fire”; March 2020 An Analysis of Sudan’s June 3, 2019 Khartoum Massacre, March 2020, p. 6 and PHR: “My Only Crime Was That I Was a Doctor”, December 2019, p. 3). While some interviews may be conducted in person, others may be conducted remotely over secure connections (see, for example, PHR: “My Only Crime Was That I Was a Doctor”, December 2019, p. 11). As PHR indicates, researchers obtain prior consent from each interviewee after an explanation of PHR’s work, the purpose of the research, and the voluntary nature of the interviews. In order to preserve the security and confidentiality of interviewees, PHR replaces their names with pseudonyms and uses their pictures in an anonymized manner (see, for example, PHR: “Chaos and Fire”; March 2020 An Analysis of Sudan’s June 3, 2019 Khartoum Massacre, March 2020, p. 12, PHR: “My Only Crime Was That I Was a Doctor”, December 2019, p. 11 and PHR: Shot While Fleeing; Rohingya Disabled by Myanmar Authorities’ Targeted Violence, June 2019, p. 9). Based on each interview, PHR researchers write case reports, drawing on notes and recordings of taken during the interviews, while clinicians provide diagnostic interpretations of the results of medical assessments (see, for example, PHR: “My Only Crime Was That I Was a Doctor”, December 2019, p. 12)
Languages of publication:
PHR – Physicians for Human Rights: A Snapshot of Our Work Around the World
PHR – Physicians for Human Rights: Examining Asylum Seekers: A Health Professional's Guide to Medical and Psychological Evaluations of Torture, Dezember 2012
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
All links accessed 14 August 2020.