PHR has been investigating human rights violations in Iraq for three decades, including the repression of the country’s Kurdish minority by the government of Saddam Hussein and the serious medical consequences of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
PHR’s current work in Iraq is focused on training and preparing medical and non-medical professionals to investigate and prosecute international crimes, including acts of sexual violence.
In November 2018, PHR conducted an in-country multi-sectoral training for medical, legal, and law enforcement professionals. This ground-breaking training imparted the skills required to collect, document, preserve, and use forensic medical evidence of sexual violence and torture to support prosecutions of international crimes committed in northern Iraq. The training also helped create a network of professionals who understand how forensic medical evidence can support accountability for crimes, how to collect that evidence in ways that minimize survivor re-traumatization, and how to collaborate across the medical, investigative, and legal sectors.
Since July 2017, PHR has also conducted a series of webinars and in-country trainings and workshops on incorporating survivor-centered approaches when documenting forensic physical and psychological evidence of sexual violence and torture. This means ensuring that survivors are treated in a manner that preserves their dignity and secures justice and reparations, while avoiding re-traumatization.
PHR continues to support the documentation of crimes against the Yazidi people, who suffered brutal attacks by ISIS in 2014 in which thousands of men, women, boys, and girls were killed, forced into flight, or abducted, raped, and enslaved. We honored Dr. Nagham Nawzat Hasan for her work with Yazidi survivors at PHR’s 2018 gala.