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For Immediate Release

New York State Senate and Governor Must Act Immediately to Complete Historic Anti-Torture Legislation

Human Rights Group Applauds Assembly Vote on Gottfried Bill

Cambridge, Mass - 06/25/2010

The New York State Assembly has passed historic legislation to prohibit the participation of health care professionals in torture and ill treatment of prisoners. The legislation would prohibit any New York licensed health care professional from undertaking these abusive acts, whether in New York, elsewhere in the US, or internationally.

"PHR applauds the leadership of Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) in securing passage of this legislation by the Assembly," said PHR Chief Executive Officer Frank Donaghue. "We also acknowledge with gratitude the many prominent New York health professionals and health professional students who successfully advocated for this action by the Assembly."

"The citizens of New York should be proud that their elected representatives have acted despite the federal government's failure to respond to the ethical and moral crisis of health professionals' complicity in torture," said Nathaniel Raymond, Director of PHR's Campaign Against Torture. "It is now up to the New York State Senate and Governor David Patterson to ensure that this landmark legislation becomes law before the legislative session is completed."

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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