Recent news reports state that the UN special rapporteur ontorture has said a video showing evidence of torture within Syrian hospitals,“is consistent with what my mandate (office) has been receiving over the lastseveral months.” This documentation of gruesome attacks on injured patients, apparentlycaptured on film by a hospital employee, is further evidence of the brutalityunleashed on civilians by the Syrian government.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has documentedthe Syrian government’s assault on the country’s medical community and itspatients, which has included denying medical treatment for injured civilians,arresting and torturing doctors and patients, and attacking and misusing healthcare facilities.
This new evidence that Syria’s state-run hospitals may havebeen turned into torture chambers is another chilling development in PresidentAssad’s unrelenting crackdown on civilian protesters.
PHR condemns any act of torture, including acts committed bymedical professionals who are bound to “do no harm.” These alleged acts oftorture violate medical professionals’ ethical obligations to always act in thepatient’s best interest and to deliver medical care in a compassionate mannerthat respects human dignity.
Those in the medical community must not use their positionsin the health care field to commit abuses. PHR stands in solidarity with thehealth care workers who denounce torture and who risk their lives to bringinformation about human rights abuses to the attention of the internationalcommunity.
Last week’s statement from the UN Security Council as wellas last month’s General Assembly resolution demonstrate the internationalcommunity’s growing concern with the situation in Syria and the globalconsensus that all attacks on civilians must cease immediately.
PHR calls for stronger measures, including a referral ofSyria by the Security Council to the International Criminal Court. Such areferral would be an essential step to bring accountability to Syrian leaderswho have committed crimes against humanity. The international community shouldcontinue to focus on avenues to accountability for all those responsible forheinous attacks on civilians.