PHR today calls on President Barack Obama to veto the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012(NDAA). On December 12, the House and Senate issued their conference report on the NDAA, which authorizes but is not essential to funding for most Defense Department operations. The House and Senate conference report does not fix fundamental flaws found in the provisions regarding treatment of terrorism suspects. President Obama had previously threatened to veto the defense bill over the detainee provisions, and PHR calls on him to honor that promise.
The latest version of the NDAA continues to authorize the indefinite detention without charge or trial of individuals suspected of terrorism and does not make an exception for US citizens or legal residents. It continues to mandate military detention for most terrorism suspects, making traditionally civilian law enforcement activities subject to military authority without regard for due process protections.
The new bill also extends the severe restrictions on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to their home or third countries although, more than half of the 171 men at Guantanamo have been cleared for transfer. These restrictions will continue to keep Guantanamo—a symbol of detainee abuse—open well into the future.
“The President must veto this bill and stand in defense of our Constitution and basic human rights,” said Kristine Huskey, Director of the Anti-Torture Program at PHR. “The rights of citizens and our country’s long-standing human rights protections are what make us, as a nation, strong. We cannot continue to undermine those rights and the rule of law.”
PHR calls on the President to stand up for due process and reject the false choice between our ideals and security, as he promised in his 2009inaugural speech.
About Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses the integrity of medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations against individuals. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.
Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, theUnited States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe:
- 1988 First to document Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Kurds
- 1996 Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans
- 1996 Produced critical forensic evidence of genocide in Rwanda
- 1997 Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for theInternational Campaign to Ban Landmines
- 2003 Warned of health and human rights catastrophe prior to the invasion of Iraq
- 2004 Documented and analyzed the genocide in Darfur
- 2005 Detailed the story of tortured detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay
- 2010 Presented the first evidence showing that CIA medical personnel engaged in human experimentation on prisoners in violation of the Nuremberg Code and other provisions