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For Immediate Release

PHR and Six Advocacy Organizations Call for Elimination of Dangerous Section of Army Field Manual

Groups Offer Recommendations to Defense Department on Detainee Treatment

Cambridge, Mass - 12/01/2010

(Cambridge, MA) In a letter to the Pentagon (pdf), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), in association with Amnesty International USA, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Open Society Foundations, the Center for Victims of Torture, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch, calls for an end to Appendix M of the 2006 Army Field Manual, which authorizes the use of sleep deprivation and isolation as part of the interrogation of detainees in US custody. The letter also outlines operational steps that must be taken to ensure compliance with relevant legal standards.

"The techniques authorized in Appendix M can constitute torture and until these tactics are explicitly prohibited, the Obama administration has not fully prohibited the use of abusive interrogation techniques,” stated Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights. "Since 2006, Physicians for Human Rights has been calling for the US to prohibit the use of isolation and sleep deprivation on detainees. President Obama must finish the job he began in January of last year and fully end America’s use of these tactics.”

The groups’ recommendations were sent in response to a request from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy, William K. Lietzau, for their views on how Appendix M could be modified to address human rights concerns.

"Rescinding Appendix M is essential to ensuring that the abuses allowed under the Bush administration do not continue under the Obama Administration,” stated John Bradshaw, Washington Director of Physicians for Human Rights. "Until Appendix M is removed from the Army Field Manual, the US is still at risk of violating international law and human rights standards.”

Since the release of Appendix M in October 2006, PHR has led the effort to rescind it. PHR worked to pass the 2007 American Psychological Association’s (APA) resolution prohibiting psychologists’ involvement in the application of abusive techniques, including those included in Appendix M. PHR and Human Rights First published the first comprehensive legal and medical analysis of the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation techniques,” including Appendix M tactics, in the 2007 report, Leave No Marks: "Enhanced” Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality.

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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