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For Immediate Release

PHR Congratulates President Obama on His Reelection, Urges Administration to Strengthen US Human Rights Policies in Second Term

Cambridge, Mass. - 11/07/2012

PHR congratulates President Obama on his reelection. A second term provides an opportunity for the administration to strengthen US policies on a variety of important human rights issues, thereby fulfilling obligations incumbent upon the administration and completing the unfinished work of the first term. PHR looks forward to continued engagement from the administration on several priority areas, and offers the following policy recommendations for future human rights advances:

  • Shape domestic policies that respect international human rights law.
    • Eliminate the use of detention for asylum applicants, and strictly limit the use of immigration detention to individuals who pose a threat to public safety. Close immigrant detention centers where abusive practices against detainees persist and further develop alternatives to detention for immigrants in removal proceedings. Immediately end the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention. Resist calls to expand the scope of immigration detention through contracts with private corporations.
    • Fulfill the promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Reject indefinite detention as a permanent solution to national security concerns.
    • Remove Appendix M of the Army Field Manual to ensure that US interrogation methods do not involve torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
    • Announce the results of the administration’s landmine policy review and work with the Senate to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty.
  • Promote human rights internationally through bilateral relations with other countries.
    • Continue US support for measures that combat sexual and gender-based violence, including in areas of armed conflict. Promote the rights of human rights defenders, including medical professionals, who protect and care for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
    • Support the rights of human rights defenders, civilian protesters, and medical professionals in Bahrain, who have suffered violent attacks, harassment, and discrimination at the hands of the Bahraini government. Use diplomatic ties between the US and Bahrain to encourage Bahraini officials to comport with international human rights obligations. Withhold arms sales until the Bahraini government makes measurable and sustainable progress on recommendations listed in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report.
    • Press the Government of Burma for more substantial reforms, including ending abuses against ethnic minorities, releasing remaining political prisoners, holding perpetrators of mass crimes accountable, and ensuring civilian control over the military. Withhold military assistance or other concessions until the Burmese authorities make measurable progress on these matters. Establish and enforce strict accountability measures on US companies that invest in Burma to prevent and punish complicity in human rights violations.
  • Respond to mass atrocities and promote accountability for perpetrators.
    • Fully resource the Atrocities Prevention Board that was established last year so that it can respond promptly to emerging situations of genocide and other mass atrocities, and integrate the prevention of mass crimes into all relevant departments of the administration.
    • Strengthen the US resolve to bring perpetrators of mass atrocities to justice. Increase US support for the International Criminal Court as well as regional and local international justice initiatives.
    • Call on President Kagame of Rwanda and President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to arrest indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, one of the most culpable perpetrators of mass rape and other crimes in eastern Congo.

Advocates around the world are hopeful that principled human rights policies will be the hallmark of a second term of the Obama Administration. PHR looks forward to collaborating with the administration in implementing effective measures to promote human rights in the United States and internationally.

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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