Open Society Awards $8 Million to Physicians for Human Rights

Physicians for Human Rights has announced an $8 million challenge grant from the Open Society Foundations in support of its efforts to advance human rights through science and medicine.

To be disbursed over four years, the largest contribution in PHR's thirty-year history will provide a dollar for every two dollars the organization raises for investments in new technology and to expand its network of health professionals and human rights advocates in the United States, East and Central Africa, and the Middle East. A joint recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, PHR has unearthed forensic evidence from mass graves that helped convict former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity; spearheaded efforts to release an imprisoned human rights defender in Turkey; led a campaign against the complicity of health professionals in the post-9/11 torture program; and documented more than twelve hundred attacks on medical workers and medical facilities in Syria since 2011.

"Health professionals play a vital role in securing freedom, peace, and justice for people around the world," said Open Society Foundations president Chris Stone. "Physicians for Human Rights is a powerful institution that prioritizes partnerships and engagement with local communities to help them become part of a global movement. We are proud to support PHR's path-breaking work."

"By definition, doctors and health professionals set out to alleviate human suffering and improve the human condition," said PHR executive director Donna McKay. "Medicine and science are also about truth, and we at PHR have been working to solidify our role as a place for doctors, nurses, psychologists, students, and others to rally under the banner of humanity, human decency, truth, and justice. Today, in the shadow of demagoguery and xenophobia that's been cast across the United States and the world, it's critical to engage those who believe in the truth — who believe in the power of evidence — to join with us in our global fight to end impunity and promote human rights.

"Eight Million Dollar Gift Jumpstarts New Era for Physicians for Human Rights." Physicians for Human Rights Press Release 04/18/2017.