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For Immediate Release

Statement from Frank Donaghue, CEO, on Closure of JEHT Foundation

Cambridge, Mass - 12/16/2008

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is saddened about the sudden closure of the New York-based JEHT Foundation, one of many fine organizations shuttered or severely harmed in recent days by Bernard Madoff's hedge-fund fraud.

PHR has been fortunate to have received $1.5 million in support from the JEHT Foundation since JEHT's inception in 2002. JEHT staff and leadership have been steadfast supporters of PHR's Campaign Against Torture, which is a nationwide leader in uncovering evidence of US torture and calling for accountability to victims.

JEHT also has contributed toward PHR's general capacity building which has permitted our organization to amplify the human rights voices of health professionals across the United States and throughout the world.

With the closure of the JEHT Foundation, PHR will lose $175,000 in funds committed by JEHT for our Campaign Against Torture work in 2009. This represents 29.2 percent of our budget for this campaign over the next twelve months.

The loss of JEHT support, while a significant blow for PHR, will not deter our campaign to ensure accountability for torture, including abuse of US detainees. PHR is dedicated to continuing this critical work, now more than ever.

PHR's Campaign Against Torture has been extremely successful in the past few months. With the help of JEHT, PHR has mobilized a unique and powerful constituency of health professionals to hold accountable those who ordered torture. For example, our June 2008 report on US torture, Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of US Torture and Its Impact, was a landmark contribution to documentation of detainee abuse by US forces. And our Campaign Against Torture has helped support Congressional investigations into detainee abuse, including the Senate Armed Services Committee's December 11 report placing responsibility for torture policy on top US officials. This work sets the stage for the next Administration and Congress to investigate and repudiate past torture, and restore our county's standing as a human rights leader.

To continue PHR's Campaign Against Torture at its current scope of intensity, we will need to replace lost JEHT funding with individual and foundation support.

In light of the startling news of JEHT's closure, PHR now more than ever appreciates the support of donors and constituents who give so generously of their time, talent, and resources in support of our common work.

PHR asks all human rights supporters – in the health professions and beyond – to join in our efforts to bring the unique health professional voice to ending torture, ensuring accountability, and reinstating America's reputation in the international community.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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