During the first two weeks in March 2000, PHR conducted human rights and medical ethics trainings for over 175 physicians in six cities throughout Kosovo. Sites included: Pec,Gjakova,Prizren, Ferizaj, Gjilane, and Pristina. The trainings informed health professionals about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents and offered a forum for discussion on current implications for health and human rights in Kosovo. Classes were one-day, seven hour sessions, supplemented by class notes and a manual. The sessions were led by PHR President Robert Lawrence, MD.
PHR believes that human rights must be one of the core issues in the reconstruction of Kosovo's health system. The physicians participating had not had the opportunity before to get together and discuss their experiences over the past decade. Many knew quite a bit about medical ethics and human rights norms intuitively because they had, themselves, endured so many violations and abuses. Very few however, had ever been exposed to the documents and many had never taken the Hippocratic Oath.
When asked to discuss the human rights of Serbs in Kosovo, many of the Kosovar Albanian physicians initially had a difficult time distinguishing between forgiveness and respect for the defense of human rights. While victims of human rights violations and their communities may not be in a position to forgive, they must be able to respect and uphold human rights of all.
Look for more information on the Kosovo training on the PHR web site: www.phrusa.org