About Physicians for Human Rights

Using medical and other scientific methods, PHR investigates and exposes violations of human rights worldwide and works to stop them. We support institutions that hold perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable for their actions. We educate health professionals, students in the fields of medicine, public health and nursing, and members of the public. PHR mobilizes people to become active in supporting a movement for human rights, and we strive to create a culture of human rights in the medical and scientific professions.

Our research takes us to conflict zones, to AIDS-ravaged Africa, to US detention centers, to mass graves in Afghanistan—and our advocacy brings us to the offices of national and international policymakers. The courts, decision makers and the media have come to rely on our credibility and expertise. Motivated by moral urgency, based on science, and anchored in international human rights standards, PHR’s advocacy advances global health and protects human rights.

Campaign Against Torture

In response to the systematic infliction of psychological and physical torture by US forces, PHR’s Campaign Against Torture seeks to restore the US commitment against torture, to ensure humane treatment of detainees and to protect US health personnel from complicity in mistreatment and harm.


PHR has successfully organized and mobilized thousands of health professionals and helped to secure the leadership of the major health professional associations to develop ethical guidelines related to interrogation, that protect against medicine and science being employed to aid the abuse of prisoners. PHR’s work contributed to the adoption of ethical standards by the American Medical Association, the World Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, prohibiting direct participation of physicians in interrogations. PHR has helped move the American Psychological Association (APA) to prohibit the involvement of its members in the Central Intelligence Agency’s “enhanced” interrogation techniques and has supported a movement within the APA to end the direct participation of psychologists in interrogations.

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