Physicians for Human Rights 2015 Annual Report
Those Who Believe In Justice Never Give Up
Defending human rights is slow, hard work. Across the globe, those who kill civilians, torture detainees, and use rape as a weapon of war all too often act in the belief that they will never have to pay for their crimes. It can take years of painstaking, often dangerous investigation for the perpetrators of such atrocities to be brought to justice.
The key is evidence. At Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), we use the expertise of doctors and scientists to produce solid, scientific, irrefutable proof of human rights crimes. In Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we empower doctors, lawyers, police, and justice officials with the specific skills to document and prosecute cases of sexual violence. In Syria, we work with our partners to train doctors and lawyers to collect and preserve evidence from survivors of torture. In the United States, we dispatch hundreds of volunteer clinicians to corroborate asylum-seekers’ stories of persecution. We do this because exposing gross human rights violations can help prevent them, because it is crucial to build a record so that those who do commit these crimes will one day be held accountable, and in order to help survivors of extreme violence live a life free from fear.
We know our approach works. This past March, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. PHR, which led efforts to document atrocities during and after the Bosnian conflict, contributed critical evidence and testimony to the ICTY proceedings that resulted in Karadzic’s conviction. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces are daily committing war crimes against the Syrian people, would do well to note: those who believe in justice do not give up.
The force behind our pursuit of justice is the team of world-class professionals, volunteers, and partners who work tirelessly with PHR – sometimes risking their lives to document and expose human rights abuses. These dedicated and courageous human rights defenders have been essential to our successes over the past year.
But none of our efforts would be possible without your support. The need for human rights work, tragically, will probably never go away. But with your backing, we are helping to build and support a global human rights movement that can help turn the wheels of prevention and justice more quickly. Thank you for partnering with us in this vital work.