IFHHRO | Medical Human Rights Network promotes health-related human rights, including the right to health. Our focus is on the important role of health professionals.

We believe that there lies a huge potential in the health professions that could be mobilized for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Right to Health Toolkit

IFHHRO is developing an easy-to-use assessment instrument for health workers, the Right to Health Toolkit.


Training materials

IFHHRO’s online Human Rights for Health Workers training manual: training sessions in four languages


Steps for Change

How to use human rights to address problems in your own healthcare institution



2022 Update Istanbul Protocol published

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published the 2022 edition of the Istanbul Protocol: Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment with contributions from more than 180 anti-torture experts from 51 countries.

Since the first edition of the Istanbul Protocol in 1999, in which IFHHRO was one of the participating organizations, the protocol has become the international standard of investigating and documenting torture.

Many thousands of training and implementation sessions have been held worldwide since 1999, which have also been sources of new knowledge and lessons learned.

IFHHRO’s Maartje Goudswaard and Adriaan van Es were members of the international revision team, and, with our international colleagues, we are proud and happy to publish the new revised 2022 edition of the Istanbul Protocol.

On 29 June 2022, The Lancet published the comment Istanbul Protocol 2022 empowers health professionals to end torture.




Ukraine: Brutal attacks on healthcare facilities in violation of Geneva Conventions

Perilous Medicine_Len RubensteinIFHHRO | Medical Human Rights Network is deeply concerned about the war in Ukraine, and the brutal attacks by Russian military forces. The World Health Organization has confirmed several attacks on healthcare centres in Ukraine and is investigating other, the agency’s chief said on Sunday. The attacks caused multiple deaths and injuries, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added in a Twitter message. “Attacks on healthcare facilities or workers breach medical neutrality and are violations of international humanitarian law,” he said. (Source: Reuters).

The gruesome reality of attacks on healthcare facilities fits in a long history of violations of the Geneva Conventions. Former PHR Director and IFHHRO Advisor Len Rubenstein recently conducted an extensive study on this topic, published in the book: Perilous Medicine, The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War.  Adriaan van Es, our Secretary, wrote a review about this important book for the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, which appeared today.




Israel: criminalization of Palestinian human rights organizations

Our partner Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) has issued a statement in solidarity with Palestinian human rights organizations that have recently been criminalized by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The decree outlaws six prominent Palestinian human rights organizations. PHR-Israel is calling upon health organizations and individuals around the world to express their support for a statement condemning this political decision that aims at silencing Palestinian organizations.

One of the outlawed organizations is Addameer, which defends the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and challenges the use of torture and the practice of force-feeding of inmates on hunger strike. According to PHRIs website, the doctors’ organization and Addameer work in close coordination to promote the right to health of Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, including their right to ethical healthcare.

Read PHRIs statement here. If you wish to indicate your support, please fill out this form before the 31st of October.