Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today released an emergency report which documents and decries systematic human rights abuses in Bahrain. For the first time, the report, “Do No Harm: A Call for Bahrain to End Systematic Attacks on Doctors and Patients,” provides forensic evidence of attacks on physicians, medical staff, patients and unarmed civilians with the use of bird shot, physical beatings, rubber bullets, tear gas and unidentified chemical agents. The report was featured on several major news outlets including the Associated Press, AFP, BBC, CNN, the Independent, New York Times, and Washington Post.
The report details systematic and coordinated attacks against medical personnel, as a result of their efforts to provide unbiased care for wounded protestors. These attacks violate the principle of “medical neutrality” and are grave breaches of international law which dictates noninterference with medical services in times of civil unrest. Included in the violations were targeted kidnappings, beatings, and threats of rape and killing by security officials. These attacks extended to the patients of medical personnel created an atmosphere of fear which dissuaded patients from seeking care.
The report concludes with policy recommendations for Bahrain, the Unites States and the international community. Among other calls for action, PHR demands for Bahrain to immediately cease and desist all attacks on medical personnel and facilities. PHR also calls on the Obama Administration to lead an international effort to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Violations of Medical Neutrality through the United Nations Human Rights Council.