TODAY: New York PHR Members Take a Stand Against Torture

The New York Coalition Against Torture (NYCAT) — a group of concerned doctors, psychologists, lawyers, students and citizens — was formed in response to the shocking human rights abuses and gross violations of health professional ethics that have taken place during the "war on terror." The well-documented participation of doctors, psychologists and other health care professionals in the torture, abuse and interrogation of prisoners in US custody raises serious concerns about the integrity and the future of health care professions in this country.Working in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, and Physicians for Human Rights, NYCAT has been at the forefront of education and advocacy efforts intended to address this issue at the state level. One of the group's primary goals is to see the passage of the Gottfried-Duane Anti-Torture Bill (S. 4495-A /A. 6665-B), which is pending in the New York State Legislature. This bill is the first of its kind in the nation and explicitly addresses the role of health professionals in the abusive treatment of prisoners.The bill explicitly states that NY-licensed health professionals’ duty to do no harm applies to their relationships with all patients and employers, and affirms that they are prohibited from any involvement in torture or other abuse of prisoners. This can be a way to help health professionals resist unlawful instructions that may expose them to risk of criminal prosecution and civil damages lawsuits.“As future doctors, we are committed to restoring trust in our profession and respect for the rule of law. We look forward to garnering additional support for the bill and to raising awareness about this critical ethical and human rights issue,” says Hana Akselrod, medical student and member of PHR’s active student chapter at Mt. Sinai School of MedicineToday, NYCAT and interested medical students will go to Albany to meet with legislators to advocate for the Gottfried-Duane Anti-Torture Bill. They have been gathering signatures for the petition to demonstrate widespread support for the legislation, including at the PHR National Conference in February, and will present the petition today.Show your support by sign the petition now. MEDIA ADVISORY: Medical Students Advocate Against Health Professional Participation in Torture(Cross-posted from the PHR Student Blog)

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