Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemned today President Barack Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA). On the eve of 2012, President Obama signed the NDAA into law, making military indefinite detention in America permanent. Although the President’s signing statement expressed “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement applies only to the current administration and does not impact how future administrations interpret the law.
PHR today calls on President Barack Obama to veto the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA). The House and Senate conference report does not fix fundamental flaws found in the provisions regarding treatment of terrorism suspects.
PHR strongly supports New York bill A.6665 (Gottfried) and S.4495 (Duane), “An Act to amend the public health law, the education law and the labor law, in relation to prohibiting participation in torture and improper treatment of prisoners by health care professionals,” which will bar all health care professionals from participating in the torture or improper treatment and interrogation of prisoners, requires health care providers to report torture or improper treatment of prisoners to responsible authorities, and provides whistleblower protections for health care professionals who refuse to undertake prohibited acts and those who participate in investigations of lawbreaking.
PHR strongly supports Massachusetts bill H.3361 (Lewis) and S.1090 (Eldridge), “An Act to Prohibit the Participation of Health Care Professionals in the Torture and Abusive Treatment of Prisoners,” which will subject to professional sanctions any Massachusetts-licensed health care professionals who participate in the torture or abusive treatment and interrogation of prisoners. It will also require health care professionals to report instances of torture or abusive treatment of prisoners, and provide protection for those professionals who refuse to participate in prohibited acts or who investigate them.
Health professionals who work in the immigration detention system are bound by the same standards of conduct that apply to the treatment of patients in private clinics and hospitals: to treat their duty to patient as their first priority and to always act in the best interests of the patient. However, this duty becomes severely compromised when the interests of their employer intrude upon or directly conflict with the needs of patients.