Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the chair of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), received the Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR) Human Rights Award on April 18 at a ceremony in New York.
The PHR released a statement regarding Fincancı, hailing her as an anti-torture expert who has dedicated her career to defending human rights.
“Şebnem Korur Fincancı remarked that ‘we lean on each other, and people need each other” in the name of avoiding losing hope but in retaining strong solidarity. As the TİHV, we thank all our friends who are in solidarity with us, especially the PHR with this award,” it stated.
Fincancı, who is the head of the Forensic Science Department of Istanbul University’s Istanbul Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty, participated in autopsy works on bodies exhumed from mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996 as part of a study for the United Nations International War Crimes Tribunal.
Fincancı focuses on human rights, torture, domestic violence and biochemical postmortems.
Fincancı was also arrested on June 20, 2016, alongside Erol Önderoğlu and Ali Nesin for participating in a solidarity campaign with the now-closed daily Özgür Gündem, but the trio was released the following month.
The PHR is a U.S.-based not-for-profit human rights NGO that uses medicine and science to document and advocate against mass atrocities and severe human rights violations around the world.
It was established in 1986 to use the unique skills and credibility of health professionals to advocate for persecuted health workers, prevent torture, document mass atrocities, and hold those who violate human rights accountable.