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One Year After NYPD Attack, Bronx Community Grapples with Collective Trauma

In the year since George Floyd’s murder, the American public has caught glimpses of the profound traumas experienced by those who witness police violence. As medical professionals, we have seen how excessive force used by police impacts not only the people directly harmed, but also bystanders, families, and neighborhoods, long after the TV cameras are […]

June 4, 2021
Weapons
Statements

PHR Statement on Escalating Violence Engulfing Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

In response to continued reports of excessive force being used in the Occupied Palestinian Territories resulting in injuries and deaths, and reported attacks on and denials of access to health care, Physicians for Human Rights has issued the following statement: “Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is deeply alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating situation engulfing Israel […]

May 11, 2021
Weapons
Report, Research Brief

Expert Statement on Individual and Community Effects from Trauma Due to NYPD Use of Force in Response to the Mott Haven Protest on June 4, 2020

Executive Summary On June 4, 2020, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) used force against protestors of police violence, arresting 263 people in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. Mott Haven is a predominantly Black and Latinx community that historically has experienced high rates of poverty and homelessness. Since March 2020, the […]

April 20, 2021
Chemical Weapons, Weapons

Health Impacts of Crowd-Control Weapons: Disorientation Devices

Overview Disorientation devices, also known as concussion grenades, flesh-bangs, or stun grenades, are weapons that create a loud explosion and/or a very bright flash of light. Originally developed as a military weapon, the use of disorientation devices in a crowd-control settings has increased significantly over the past several years. While their states objective is to […]

October 28, 2020
Weapons

Health Impacts of Crowd-Control Weapons: Water Cannons

Overview High- or low-velocity streams of water, commonly known as water cannons, are frequently used for dispersing crowds or limiting access to certain areas. Water cannons can cause hypothermia, direct trauma from the pressurized water, secondary injury from being knocked down or colliding with objects, or injuries from chemicals and dyes dissolved in the water. […]

October 28, 2020
Weapons

Health Impacts of Crowd-Control Weapons: Directed Energy Devices

Overview Directed energy weapons, also known by the brand name Active Denial System, are a new technology developed by the U.S. military. This technology delivers very high-frequency millimeter-wavelength electromagnetic rays that heat skin on contact, causing a painful burning sensation. These weapons have not been used on protestors to date but are actively in development […]

October 28, 2020
Weapons

Health Impacts of Crowd-Control Weapons: Acoustic Weapons

Overview Acoustic weapons, also known as long-range acoustic devices and sound cannons, are devices that deliver very loud sounds over long distances. This technology is used for crowd-control purposes by emitting loud and painful levels of noise that may lead to significant harms to the ears, potentially causing hearing loss. Serious questions remain about the […]

October 27, 2020
Weapons
Webinar

Health Implications of Potential Election-related Violence

As the United States approaches Election Day, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) hosted a discussion on Friday, October 23 on how to prepare, from a human rights and medical perspective, to respond to a range of potential election-related violence. We will share research, tools, and guidance prepared by PHR and discuss this timely issue through […]

October 23, 2020
COVID-19, Weapons
Press Release

United States: Protect Peaceful Assemblies; Limit Use of Force

City and state officials in the United States should review their laws, policies, and practices ahead of the November 3, 2020 general elections to ensure that they protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, five international human rights organizations said on October 20, in letters to over 3,500 mayors and city council members throughout […]

October 21, 2020
Weapons
Press Release

Portland Police and Federal Agents Misused Crowd-Control Weapons, Obstructed Medical Care at Oregon Protests: PHR Investigation

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and federal agents used disproportionate and excessive force against both protestors and medics at the Portland, Oregon protests in July, according to a new investigation published today by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).  The report finds that law enforcement’s deployment of crowd-control weapons and obstruction of medical care at the […]

October 8, 2020
Weapons
Multimedia

“A Targeted Attack on the Bronx”

In New York City, one of the most egregious incidents against peaceful protestors and street medics occurred on June 4, 2020 in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx.

September 24, 2020
COVID-19, Weapons
Press Release

U.S. Law Enforcement Shot At Least 115 People in the Head with Crowd-Control Weapons During the First Two Months of George Floyd Protests: Physicians for Human Rights

At least 115 people suffered head injuries when law enforcement officers shot them with  kinetic impact projectiles (KIPs) during the first two months of the U.S. protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd, according to a new analysis published by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today. “Shot in the Head,”a visual investigation […]

September 14, 2020
Weapons
Multimedia

Shot in the Head

After George Floyd’s killing, captured on video and shown widely across the United States and around the world, millions of people took to the streets nationwide to support the Black Lives Matter movement and demand police accountability. While protests in the United States in June and July of 2020 were overwhelmingly peaceful and without incident, […]

September 14, 2020
Weapons
Report

Preliminary Findings: Use of Crowd-Control Weapons on Protestors in Portland, Oregon

Prepared in Advance of August 4 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Hearing entitled “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence.” Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a global non-governmental organization with headquarters in New York that brings the expertise of science and medicine to the protection and […]

August 4, 2020
COVID-19, Weapons
Fact Sheet

Preparing for, Protecting Against, and Treating Tear Gas and Other Chemical Irritant Exposure: A Protestor’s Guide

As people around the world take to the streets to protest against police brutality, they are often being met with violent crackdowns by law enforcement officers firing tear gas and other crowd-control weapons. Deceptively known as “less-lethal,” these weapons can in fact cause severe injuries and even death when used with excessive force. Physicians for […]

June 10, 2020
Weapons
Press Release

PHR Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and Structural Racism in the United States

Physicians for Human Rights mourns and condemns the killing of George Floyd, an abhorrent act of excessive force and police brutality.   We denounce this epidemic of police violence against people of color and the senseless loss of life it causes. We extend deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd, as we continue to […]

May 30, 2020
COVID-19, Weapons
Press Release

Trump Administration Decision to Allow Landmine Use is a Deadly Policy Reversal: PHR

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is deeply alarmed by reports that the Trump administration will allow the United States military to use landmines, a highly indiscriminate and destructive weapon. The administration appears to have reversed a 2014 directive for the United States to no longer “produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines.” Landmines have maimed […]

January 31, 2020
Weapons
Press Release

Turkey Must Cease Reported Attacks on Civilians in Syria, Respect Human Rights: PHR

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is deeply alarmed by reports of wide-ranging and severe human rights violations committed by Turkish forces in Syria, a devastating escalation in an eight-year conflict defined by the egregious corrosion of international human rights and humanitarian norms. According to reports from humanitarian organizations and news media, Turkish or Turkish-aligned forces […]

October 23, 2019
Attacks on Health Care, Chemical Weapons, Weapons
Press Release

French Court Decision to Allow Police Rubber Bullet Use Violates UN Principles

France’s highest administrative court recently decided to allow police to continue using rubber bullets to disperse crowds, even amidst hundreds of incidents of such weapons causing serious injuries, including blindness. Physicians for Human Rights opposes the misuse of rubber bullets, also known as kinetic impact projectiles, and other weapons, such as tear gas, that can […]

February 6, 2019
Weapons
Blog

The Very Real Health Impacts of Tear Gas

For decades, the use of tear gas for crowd control has been fiercely debated. Over the past month, we’ve seen the conversation renewed, with unabated “yellow vest” protests in Paris, which have turned violent in a cloud of tear gas, and in the United States, where Customs and Border Protection fired smoke canisters at a […]

December 11, 2018
Weapons

Chemical Weapons Fact Sheets

The fact sheets below describe the physical effects of chemical weapons agents (CWAs) and provide guidelines for medical professionals to correctly diagnose, treat, and document evidence of exposure to CWAs. Compiled from publicly available sources and vetted by experts in the field, the fact sheets are designed to synthesize and clearly communicate the pragmatic science […]

September 25, 2018
Chemical Weapons, Weapons

Misuse of Crowd-control Weapons and Excessive Force

Law enforcement throughout the world is increasingly responding to popular protests with crowd-control weapons (CCWs), also known as “less-lethal” weapons. The proliferation of CCWs without adequate regulation, training, monitoring, and/or accountability has led to the widespread and routine use or misuse of these weapons, resulting in injury, disability, and death. After the South Korean government […]

August 5, 2018
Weapons

Landmines

Deadly artifacts of past wars, landmines are responsible for the death and maiming of thousands of innocent civilian men, women, and children in countries already ravaged by the economic, environmental, and psychological scars of violent conflict. In 1991, PHR conducted critical research on the prevalence and medical consequences of landmine injuries in Cambodia. With Human […]

August 5, 2018
Weapons