Samira Abdulghani: Human Rights Defender

By The Carter Center’s Human Rights Program

There was no anger in Dr. Samira Abdulghani’s voice as she recounted her work as a pediatric specialist at General Hospital in Fallujah, Iraq. She was at a Carter Center forum of human rights defenders telling the story of “Iraq’s Hiroshima” and to ask for help. Her message:

Nearly 1 in 7 babies born in Falluhjah have major birth and congenital heart defects, likely due to chemical weapons used during U.S.-led attacks beginning in 2004, and the community needs help.

They need medical facilities and medicine; they need someone to take responsibility and to find a solution.

Abdulghani is the only doctor in Fallujah documenting the cases of congenital abnormalities. In one three-week period, she recorded 37 births with serious defects in her hospital alone.