For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed the announcement that President Barack Obama will move to preserve the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the U.S. torture program under the Presidential Records Act. PHR has previously called on the administration to declassify the full 6,700-page investigation and today issued the following statement, attributable to Sarah Dougherty, senior fellow, U.S. Anti-Torture Program:
“Preserving this report and ensuring it cannot be destroyed to cover up evidence of wrongdoing is a critical step forward in fully accounting for the brutal, illegal campaign of torture waged in the wake of 9/11. While we commend President Obama for ensuring that this authoritative account of one of the most disturbing eras in modern U.S. history will be available for future generations, we and other human rights advocates urge him to declassify the full report and to direct federal agencies to review it in order to strengthen safeguards against a return to torture.
“As we have documented, health professionals played a central role in designing, implementing, and supervising the use of torture. There is a great deal more to be known about how psychologists, physicians, and other health professionals were systematically co-opted to deploy their skills to harm instead of heal, and how medical ethics were cast aside to aid and abet torture. The facts contained in the full 6,700-page report will be essential to seeking truth, reform, and accountability for these grave violations of medical ethics and the law.
“Torture is as illegal now as it was then, and it is critical for our leaders, the public, and future generations to understand what happened in order to ensure that these devastating mistakes are not repeated. The torture program inflicted profound harm on people’s lives, on national security, and on the rule of law. We urge the incoming Trump administration to abandon such reckless practices, and we call on health professionals and the public to speak out against torture.”
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.