In the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue of torture has attracted the attention of the media, health organizations, and political activists. This year, State Senator Thomas Duane and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried sponsored a unique piece of legislation, which is publicly endorsed by the former president of Physicians for Human Rights, that establishes sanctions for state-licensed health professionals who participate in torture or improper treatment of prisoners.
Although torture remains deeply embedded in the law enforcement and state security systems of the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, a new PHR briefing paper documents recent efforts to end impunity for torture, both by promoting policy changes and by improving the country’s local capacity to investigate, document, and prosecute such abuses.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder closed the door on any accountability whatsoever for past war crimes and acts of torture. In truth, the door had by then only been open a few centimeters, but now it is slammed shut, locked, and chained. [The preface to PHR's report Broken Laws, Broken Lives, by Major General Antonio Taguba (Ret.) is quoted.]
In the News
Dr. George Hough reports on a recent training for mental health specialists that was hosted by the Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Program.
As director of PHR's anti-torture program and as an attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees, Kristine Huskey has been fighting for basic human rights and social justice since a few months after 9/11, when she took on her first clients. In a Yin Radio interview, Huskey talks about her work and how she manages to stay with it amid the worst of what human beings are capable of.