Attacks on Health Care | Persecution of Health Professionals

Medical professionals have an obligation to treat their patients without bias – sometimes, that puts them in danger themselves.

Physicians and other health professionals have a duty to treat patients without discrimination both during times of peace as well as in situations of armed conflict. Many health professionals recognize a responsibility to document human rights violations and to advocate for the health and well-being both of individuals and entire populations. For adhering to their professional oaths or for standing up for human rights, health professionals are sometimes threatened, arrested, tortured, or even killed. PHR documents such persecution and works both to protect health personnel, and to support accountability for perpetrators, including those who deliberately target health care systems and personnel.

Drs. Lena and Nour Document and Treat Survivors of Assad’s Atrocities

Since 2011, the Syrian government and allied forces have led a systematic and deliberate campaign on medical facilities and hospitals. PHR has featured the voices of and honored at its gala two female Syrian doctors targeted for their medical profession and the fact that they can document wounds and evidence of government torture in their patients. PHR is documenting attacks on medical personnel and facilities across the country in this interactive map.

Dr. Denis Mukwege and the Fight Against Sexual Violence in the DRC  

Dr. Denis Mukwege, world-renowned gynecological surgeon, is the founder of Panzi Hospital, which has treated more than 30,000 survivors of sexual violence in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In October 2012, Dr. Mukwege was violently attacked and his family was held at gunpoint at his home in an assassination attempt. PHR worked in close coordination with Dr. Mukwege and colleagues at risk in DRC to mobilize a global campaign to advocate for and protect individuals working on the front lines helping survivors of mass atrocities and prosecuting perpetrators of these mass crimes. Read more here.