PHR's work in the US addresses the involvement of US military and government personnel and of health professionals in the torture of detainees.
The doctor members of PHR's Asylum Network offer pro bono evaluations in support of the claims of people seeking asylum in the US, of torture and abuse in their home countries.
Open letter to President Obama on hunger strikers in Guantanamo (The Lancet, June 19, 2013)
We write to you as doctors and other health professionals to request that you attend to the open letter from 13 of the hunger strikers in Guantanamo to their military doctors. It is clear that they do not trust their military doctors. They have very good reason for this, as you should know, from the current protocols of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo,1 which those doctors are ordered to follow.
PHR Welcomes Nomination of UN Ambassador (June 6, 2013)
PHR welcomed the nomination of Samantha Power by the White House as the new US ambassador to the United Nations. “Samantha Power has a direct understanding and vision for how the United Nations can support human security and well-being, and brings passion and expertise for human rights to this important role,” said Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s director of international policy and partnerships, and senior advisor.
PHR Welcomes President Obama’s Call to Close Guantánamo, Points to Need for Concrete Steps and Timeline (May 23, 2013)
PHR today welcomed President Obama’s remarks about the need to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center, and hopes the administration will take immediate and concrete steps to ensure all detainees are transferred or released promptly.
Evaluating Asylum Seekers: An Interview with Dr. Arno Vosk (SampsoniaWay.org, May 9, 2013)
Asylum Network volunteer Dr. Vosk discusses the role coincidence plays in keeping asylum seekers alive, his method of assessing trauma via an individual’s scars, and the difficulties people face when seeking refuge in the US, where “fearfulness and rejection of immigrants have become an accepted part of national policy.”
The closure of Guantánamo: a modern Gordian Knot (May 23, 2013)
If the Obama administration wants to successfully resolve the 'Gordian Knot' that is the Guantánamo Bay detention centre, it has to untangle it carefully with a comprehensive approach proving that indefinite detention is not needed.
Failing to Heal: Hunger Strikes in Guantánamo and the Role of Medical Professionals (April 30, 2013)
In a recently released bipartisan report on detainee treatment at the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Constitution Project’s Expert Task Force devotes a whole chapter to the spectacular failure of medical professionals in GTMO to protect detainees from harm or injustice.
Anti-Torture Update: Take Action to End Torture (January 3, 2013)
January 11, 2013, marks the 11th anniversary of the day detainees were first brought to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The National Defense Authorization Act 2013 (NDAA) recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama does little to shut down the Guantanamo prison, though the President had promised to close it almost four years ago.
Obama 2.0: Will Plans for immigration Reform Address Needs of the Most Vulnerable? (November 29, 2012)
There is a broad consensus that our immigration system is in desperate need of an overhaul. Comprised of a hopelessly complicated patchwork of laws enacted in response to events like the 1993 World Trade Center bombings and the 9/11 attacks, the immigration system creates narrow pathways for some immigrants to come to or remain in the United States, while making it almost impossibly hard for others, including many fleeing torture and persecution.
President Obama Urged to Coordinate Executive Branch Response to Senate Committee's Study on CIA Interrogation Program (May 2013)
PHR has joined seven other NGOs, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, The Center for Victims of Torture, and others, to urge President Obama to make sure the Executive Branch response to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study is not driven by individuals who might be implicated in the CIA’s use of torture.
Solitary confinement is a form of segregation in which people are held in total or near-total isolation in small cells for 23 hours a day. It is used to control and discipline detainees in federal and state prisons, local jails, and immigration and national security detention facilities. Unlike incarcerated prisoners, immigration and national security detainees are held not as punishment for a crime but as a preventive measure, and will likely never be charged with a crime. For these people, solitary confinement then becomes entirely punitive, with dire consequences for their mental and physical health.
Two Senators and 22 Representatives jointly signed a letter to the King of Bahrain today, calling on him to pardon eight medical professionals convicted for providing medical care to injured protesters.
Invisible in Isolation (September 2012)
Immigrants in detention facilities around the United States are often subjected to punitive and long-term solitary confinement and denied meaningful avenues of appeal, according to an investigation by PHR and Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).