PHR’s 2020 Annual Report

Safeguarding Human Rights Amid the Pandemic

Dear friends of PHR,

2020 was a profoundly challenging year, one which tested our strength, our resourcefulness, and our humanity. More than any year in memory, it revealed the deep inequities that permeate our societies, and the unequal ways that communities of color have suffered and lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlighted the vital role health workers play in protecting the well-being of people worldwide and the critical importance of ensuring that the world’s health professionals can safely do their jobs without fear of harm.

2020 was also Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR) moment. At the nexus of medicine, science, and human rights, our work put us squarely in the center of the unfolding crisis, and we met the challenges of this extraordinary year with creativity, deep expertise, and our unwavering commitment to health and human rights for all.

As you will read in these pages, we leveraged our networks to mobilize a global community of human rights advocates, magnifying our impact and wielding the power of facts against the greatest public health emergency of our time. We spoke out locally, nationally, and internationally to protect health workers and their patients, and convened the brightest minds to advocate for science- and rights-based approaches to the pandemic.

And despite the constraints of COVID-19, we continued exposing the harms of crowd-control weapons deployed against racial justice protestors, seeking redress for survivors of sexual violence, advocating for the rights of asylum seekers and to end family separation as the U.S.-Mexico border, investigating the Syrian government’s cynical blocking of health care in recaptured territories, and speaking out about the horrific toll of sexual violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya people.

As the world confronts compounding crises, the work of PHR has never been more vital. The health, human rights, and safety of so many of the communities we work with – immigrants, asylum seekers, Black and Brown communities, frontline health workers, sexual violence survivors and civilians in conflict zones, among so many others – continue to be threatened every day.

With your support, we are doing the critical work of ensuring that their voices are heard, that their rights are protected, and that their persecutors face justice. Thank you for being by our side.

Donna McKay, Executive Director

Alan Jones, Board Chair

Read the Physicians for Human Rights 2020 Annual Report.

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