Clinicians can assist asylum seekers and others seeking protection in the United States by providing objective documentation of their physical and psychological injuries and trauma. This documentation becomes evidence that can corroborate the asylum seeker’s narrative of persecution. This manual is a tool for clinicians to use in assisting their evaluation and documentation of asylum seekers' histories. PHR intends to provide medical professionals with the information necessary to conduct these potentially life-saving evaluations by including an overview of political asylum law and procedure in the United States, an explanation of the physician's role in verifying signs and symptoms consistent with torture, and a review of components of appropriate written and oral medical testimony.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) welcomes the release of a new training course for Asylum Officers charged with hearing claims from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex asylum applicants. Given the increasing volume of people who seek asylum in the US after facing persecution and torture in their home countries because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, this new training course is a sorely-needed resource for government officials who hold the fates of LGBTI asylum applicants in their hands.
PHR commends Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s decision to create an exemption to the “material support” bar for health professionals who have provided medical assistance to wounded combatants. The decision is a major victory for health professionals who were forced to provide health care to alleged terrorists during armed conflict. Previously, medical professionals forced to provide care to members of terrorist organizations, some under the threat of torture or death, were denied asylum in the US.
The US Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recently ended a long-standing policy allowing asylum in the United States for women and girls subjected to the ritual of female genital cutting (FGC).
PHR Advisor Dr. Allen Keller Testifies Before House Immigration Subcommittee about Harmful Detention Conditions
PHR advisor Dr. Allen Keller, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Center for Survivors of Torture, testified on behalf of PHR and the Center, warning that inadequate health care and harmful detention conditions - documented in PHR's 2003 report "From Persecution to Prison" — appear to have worsened over the past four years.