For all the controversy over whether solitary confinement should ever be used in American prisons and jails, the evidence is clear: Isolation for 23 hours a day causes severe and often irreversible psychological damage.
On Sept. 25, PHR joined a group of international human rights experts and organizations in filing an amicus brief on an appeal before the Spanish Supreme Court. The case seeks to hold accountable six senior legal advisers in the Bush administration who allegedly facilitated the torture and abuse of people detained at Guantánamo and other detention sites overseas.
Uzbekistan, already notorious for its deplorable prison conditions and abuse of prisoners, has one prison that stands out more gruesome and horrific than the rest: Jaslyk Prison. Its prisoners, at least those lucky enough to live to tell their tales, have described the myriad methods of torture used at the prison, including sexual assault, needles forced under prisoners’ fingernails, electric shock, and long periods of isolation in solitary confinement without food or drink.
London’s Summer Olympic Games focused the eyes of the world on Great Britain as it hosted a two-week celebration of international competition, coupled with what seemed like true respect for and appreciation of the histories and cultures of some of the world’s greatest athletes. As the games came to a close, however, so too did Britain’s seeming respect for its foreign visitors, as reports surfaced alleging that officials at its Dover immigration removal center have been too dismissive of detainees’ torture claims.
Special medical training to recognize and understand the consequences of human rights abuses is no longer a niche specialty only for clinicians working with asylum seekers. Such training is necessary for all physicians, psychologists, nurses, and social workers determined to aid their patients effectively. PHR will be conducting two training sessions to provide clinicians with the skills necessary to recognize and document evidence of torture and other human rights abuses.