In early 2003, when reports of torture by US military personnel began to surface publicly, PHR committed to investigating allegations of US torture, advocating against its practice and mobilizing health professionals to advocate for an end to these abuses.
As evidence of US national security interrogation practices emerged, it became clear that psychologically abusive methods of interrogation were at the core of US intelligence gathering.
In response to US personnel's systematic infliction of psychological and physical torture against detainees, PHR seeks to restore the US commitment against torture, to ensure humane treatment of detainees, and to protect US health personnel from complicity in mistreatment and harm.
More about PHR's work in stopping torture and bringing about accountability:
PHR Calls for Unfettered Access for Humanitarian Assistance in Syria (November 26, 2013)
PHR is calling on the U.S. government to immediately enter into high-level negotiations with the Russian government to ensure unfettered access in Syria for the International Committee of the Red Cross and other U.N. and humanitarian organizations that urgently need to provide vital services and supplies.
PHR Reiterates Call to Release Imprisoned Medics in Bahrain and Stop Shipment of Tear Gas (November 22, 2013)
PHR today reaffirmed its call to the Bahraini government to immediately release medical professionals who have been wrongfully prisoned and stop the ongoing targeting of the medical community.
Physicians Who Do Harm (The Last Word On Nothing, November 6, 2013)
First, do no harm. It’s a commandment often incorrectly attributed to the Hippocratic oath yet it provides an ethical foundation for modern medicine. The American Medical Association’s principles of medical ethics begins, “A physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.”
Leading Doctors Ask President Obama to End Force-Feeding and Restore Medical Ethics at Guantánamo (November 5, 2013)
More than 35 prominent doctors and public health professionals – including a former U.S. surgeon general, six Nobel Laureates in chemistry and medicine, and 18 current and former deans of public health and medical schools – are calling on President Obama to end force-feeding at Guantánamo and stop undermining medical care.
Discovering Inspiration in Tragedy (November 18, 2013)
“I’m upset – feeling guilty for leaving colleagues working in extreme circumstances in Syria. But I will document the violations. That is my contribution.” - Syrian refugee doctor
Physicians for Human Rights Submits Shadow Report to the UN Human Rights Committee (September 18, 2013)
On October 17–18, 2013, the United States will be under review by the United Nations to examine U.S. compliance with its legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – a treaty the United States ratified in 1992.
Calculating the Immeasurable: Somali Torture Victim Wins $15 Million in Civil Damages (August 23, 2013)
This week an Ohio judge awarded $15 million to Abukar Hassan Ahmed, a Somali constitutional law professor and human rights advocate, following a civil trial in which a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) volunteer doctor delivered testimony crucial to the case.
Force Feeding Violates Basic Medical Ethics and Our Core Values (August 9, 2013)
Force feeding is inconsistent with medical ethics, as it directly infringes on detainees' rights to make their own decisions about their health. Health professionals at Guantánamo have been subjecting detainees to the procedure against their wishes, using shackles and restraints for up to four hours a day while force feeding them.
Letter to President Obama on Force-Feeding at Guantánamo (November 2013)
More than 35 prominent doctors and public health professionals sent this letter to President Obama and called on him to end force-feeding at Guantánamo and stop undermining medical care.
Hunger Strikes and the Practice of Force-Feeding (October 2013)
This fact sheet gives an overview of the medical ethics of force-feeding, the U.S. government's response to hunger strikers, and PHR's recommendations to the Obama administration.
Shadow Report to the Human Rights Committee on the United States' Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (September 2013)
PHR submitted a shadow report to the Human Rights Committee (HRC) for its review of the United States’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
PHR Anti-Torture Expert Stephen N. Xenakis Testifies at Senate Judiciary Committee on Closing Guantananmo (July 2013)
Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Closing Guantanamo: The National Security, Fiscal, and Human Rights Implications, on July 24, 2013. Read his full testimony here.