ResourcesPress Release

Physicians for Human Rights to Testify on Massachusetts Anti-Torture Legislation

For Immediate Release

WHO

PHR’sAsylum Program Director, ChristyFujio, and StephenMcElroy, MD, MPH

WHAT

PHRwill urge the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to support “An Act to Prohibit theParticipation of Health Care Professionals in the Torture and Abusive Treatmentof Prisoners H.3361,” which would make clear that Massachusetts-licensed healthcare professionals who participate in acts of torture and ill treatment shouldbe subject to professional sanctions

WHEN

Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 1-5 p.m.

WHERE

Massachusetts State House, Room B-2, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

WHY

Reports haveconfirmed that doctors and psychologists were essential to the design,implementation, and rationalization of a system of torture and cruel, inhuman,and degrading treatment of prisoners in US custody. Health careprofessionals who participated in these activities committed grave violationsof professional standards and ethical codes, violated the trust of theirpatients, diminished the stature of their profession, and committed crimesunder US and international law. 

Massachusetts-licensedhealth care professionals who participate in such abhorrent acts, no matterwhere those acts occur, should be subject to professional sanctions. This lawwould help prevent torture and abuse by providing health care professionalswith an additional legal basis to resist unlawful and unethical orders.

THE BILL WOULD:

  • Sanction MA-licensed health care professionals whoparticipate in torture and abusive treatment of prisoners, wherever the abusetakes place.
  • Sanction MA-licensed health care professionalswho participate in interrogation of prisoners, wherever the interrogationtakes place.
  • Require MA-licensed health care professionals to reportviolations.
  • Help MA-licensed health care professionals resist unlawfulorders that could place them at risk of criminal prosecutions and civilliability lawsuits.

 

For more information please contact MeganProck at mprock@phrusa.org or617.301.4237.

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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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Kevin Short

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