PHR mourns the untimely loss of Dr. Paul Epstein, one of our pioneering medical activists, former board and executive committee member. Paul joined PHR's board in 1987 soon after the organization's launch, and participated in several landmark assessments.
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.
Protecting evidence of any and all crime scenes from the unrest in Libya will ensure that independent investigations of alleged war crimes can take place. Without such protection, evidence of past atrocities, as well as those that have occurred during the recent conflict, may be lost.
The establishment of this investigation commission, announced Wednesday, June 29, is a response to calls from PHR and other groups to investigate attacks on protesters and health professionals following popular protests in Bahrain earlier this year.
We urge President Obama to appoint a non-partisan commission of distinguished Americans to examine, and provide a comprehensive report on, policies and actions related to the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees after 9/11 and the consequences of those actions, and to make recommendations for future policy in this area.