Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that strives to promote a more fair and inclusive society in which the right to health is applied equally for all. It is PHR-Israel’s view that Israel’s prolonged occupation over Palestinian territory is the basis of human rights violations. For this reason we oppose the occupation and endeavor to put an end to it. PHR-Israel stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights – the right to health particularly - in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
PHR-Israel's activity focuses on the right to health in its broadest sense, encompassing conditions that are prerequisites for health, such as freedom of movement, access to essential medical services, clean water, modern sanitary conditions, proper nutrition, adequate housing, education and employment opportunities, and non-violence. This perception of the right to health is expressed in General Comment 14 on the Right to Health
by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In this spirit, PHR-Israel endeavors to promote a society that is based on the values of human rights, solidarity, social justice, equality and mutual assistance for all populations under Israel's responsibility:
PHR-Israel believes in the power of the Israeli medical community to struggle against human rights violations, torture in particular, and support policies which ensure the active implementation of the right to health, in accordance with international human rights treaties, the principle of medical ethics (for more information see The Right to Health). More than half of PHR-Israel's 1500 members are medical professionals.
Medical Assistance: Providing medical diagnoses and treatment at PHR-Israel's clinics as a response to applicants' basic health needs where the state fails to respond and/or assume responsibility. This action is done as an act of solidarity with marginalized and oppressed populations and in protest against it.
Individual Assistance: Representing individual applicants vis-à-vis state authorities, with the objective of protecting their right to health and other human rights.
Through direct medical aid and individual assistance, PHR-Israel learns of broader policies which affect the right to health and are able thus to wage campaigns for long- term change.
Advocacy: Leading struggles on matters of principle vis-à-vis state authorities, in order to change policies that compromise the right to health of individuals and their communities.
In our struggle against human rights violations, particularly those derived from the occupation of the Palestinian territory, PHR-Israel has also been a leader in ongoing campaigns against torture, summary executions, arbitrary (administrative) detentions, and solitary confinement in prisons.
For more detailed information on PHR-Israel's courses of action, see pages entitled Medical Assistance, Legal Action and Reports.
PHR-Israel's Inception: Israeli-Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights, as the organization was then known, was established in 1988, during the early months of the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territory. The organization was initiated by Dr. Ruchama Marton, PHR-Israel's current President, along with a group of Jewish and Palestinian physicians from Israel. The organization played a central role in the struggle of human rights organizations against torture in detention facilities in Israel, particularly against physicians' participation in the torture of Palestinian detainees by failing to prevent and/or report torture.