Category Archive for 'Human RIghts Watch'

Physicians for Human Rights joins numerous international NGOs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders, in supporting United4Iran’s Global Day of Action on June 12, 2010. June 12 events will be occurring in over 70 cities around the world. Go to for more information.

June 12 marks the one year anniversary of Iran’s disputed election, which was followed by a government crackdown that saw an increase in arbitrary arrests, torture, and politically motivated use of the death penalty. The Global Day of Action calls attention to Prisoners of Conscience in Iran, and demands their unconditional release.

Since last year’s elections, the human rights situation in Iran has only grown worse. PHR continues to highlight the case of Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei, Iranian doctors who have been held by Iranian authorities since June 2008. After being imprisoned without charge for six months, the Doctors Alaei were convicted and sentenced for the charges of being in “communications with an enemy government” and “seeking to overthrow the Iranian government.” Kamiar was given a three year prison sentence, while Arash was sentenced to six years.

The Iranian government used the doctors’ travel to international AIDS conferences as a basis for the charge. Iran cannot continue to imprison medical professions for doing their job. By equating public health diplomacy with treason, the Iranian government poses a threat to all Iranians working for scientific knowledge.

Stand with PHR and the international community to tell the world that “Treating AIDS is not a crime.” Visit for more information on the Alaeis. And on June 12, please help us remember and defend those in Iran jailed for their humanitarian work.

Last Friday, the PHR team delivered to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a joint advocacy letter, urging that sexual and gender-based violence (SGV) programming be recognized as an urgent need in Sudan. Forty advocacy and human rights groups called on Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sudan Envoy Scott Gration to recognize the absence of vital SGV programming following the March 2009 expulsion of international humanitarian organizations and key Sudanese NGOs.  The number of supporting organizations has since grown to more than 60.

The team from PHR met with General Gration’s office, and with the office of the Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues on Friday, to present the letter and advocate for the inclusion of SGV programs in the Sudan Policy benchmarks.

The elimination of SGV services in Sudan is a perfect storm of collateral damage: when the 16 international humanitarian organizations and NGOs were expelled, these programs — and equally importantly, the network of SGV-focused personnel and leadership — disappeared. In a climate where remaining staff and organizations were afraid to rebuild or renegotiate their contracts for fear of Government of Sudan retribution, services for survivors of sexual violence in Darfur collapsed.

Despite this, and despite the fine work of the State department on a number of gender-based violence issues, the issue of sexual violence was not explicitly recognized in the administration’s Sudan Policy review, nor was it included in the details of US strategic objective #1, which deals with the humanitarian situation in Darfur. It was, however, recognized by the UN panel of experts in the recent report released on the humanitarian situation in Darfur, and has been a key sticking point for activists in the US at the recent Pledge to Protect conference.

Today — just in time for the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women on November 25 — PHR has launched  a congressional action for advocates and activists to urge Senators and Representatives to join us in our call to the State department on this issue. Partnering with our co-signatories, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, the Arab Coalition for Darfur, the Enough Project, Save Darfur Coalition and others, we continue to advocate for the restoration of services as basic as emergency assistance for injuries, documentation of injuries sustained during these brutal attacks, access to HIV/AIDS prophylaxis treatment, pregnancy testing and psychological and social support. We ask Hillary Rodham Clinton and General Gration not only to include SGV programs as a benchmark in the Sudan policy, but also:

  • To ensure that renegotiation of technical agreements between humanitarian organizations and the Government of Sudan takes place, so that international humanitarian organizations and NGOs can incorporate or SGV programs into their authorized operations in Sudan.
  • To monitor Government of Sudan obstruction of SGV services in Khartoum and on the ground: SGV services must be restored and made available to all IDP populations, including West and South Darfur, where humanitarian operations have historically functioned at a lower level than in North Darfur state.
  • To support and facilitate coordination between aid agencies, camp residents and UNAMID gender desk officers. The recruitment of gender desk officers must involve camp residents, and the work of gender experts should fully utilize the expertise and resources of aid agencies as well as camp residents, to ensure the establishment of culturally competent services.

We need action to protect the rights of survivors in Darfur: please let your US Senators and Representative know.

(Cross-posted on