PHR uses forensic science to investigate, document, and advocate against torture of US-held detainees, and through its Asylum Program, to conduct medical and psychological forensic evaluations of survivors of torture and abuse who seek asylum in the US.
The Role of Health Professionals in Detainee Interrogation (The Atlantic, November 11, 2012)
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.
PHR Program Seeks to End Impunity for Torture in Kyrgyzstan (October 23, 2012)
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.
Don't Look Back (desperadophilosophy.net, September 3, 2012)
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.]
Psychologists obtain training on human rights law and evaluation of torture survivors (American Psycological Association , June 1, 2012)
Dr. George Hough reports on a recent training for mental health specialists that was hosted by the Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Program.
Calculating the Immeasurable: Somali Torture Victim Wins $15 Million in Civil Damages (August 23, 2013)
This week an Ohio judge awarded $15 million to Abukar Hassan Ahmed, a Somali constitutional law professor and human rights advocate, following a civil trial in which a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) volunteer doctor delivered testimony crucial to the case.
Anti-Torture Update: Take Action to End Torture (January 3, 2013)
January 11, 2013, marks the 11th anniversary of the day detainees were first brought to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The National Defense Authorization Act 2013 (NDAA) recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama does little to shut down the Guantanamo prison, though the President had promised to close it almost four years ago.
Uzbekistan’s ‘House of Torture’ Is No ‘Home Sweet Home’ (August 17, 2012)
Uzbekistan, already notorious for its deplorable prison conditions and abuse of prisoners, has one prison that stands out more gruesome and horrific than the rest: Jaslyk Prison. Its prisoners, at least those lucky enough to live to tell their tales, have described the myriad methods of torture used at the prison, including sexual assault, needles forced under prisoners’ fingernails, electric shock, and long periods of isolation in solitary confinement without food or drink.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Juan Méndez, is currently visiting Tajikistan to assess measures taken by the Tajik government to bring its torture prohibition legislation into compliance with international standards.
President Obama Urged to Coordinate Executive Branch Response to Senate Committee's Study on CIA Interrogation Program (May 2013)
PHR has joined seven other NGOs, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, The Center for Victims of Torture, and others, to urge President Obama to make sure the Executive Branch response to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study is not driven by individuals who might be implicated in the CIA’s use of torture.
Ending Impunity: The Use of Forensic Medical Evaluations to Document Torture and Ill Treatment in Kyrgyzstan (October 2012)
Torture and ill treatment are widespread and systematic in Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries. During 2011-2012, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has worked to transform Kyrgyzstan’s stated policy of zero tolerance for torture and ill treatment into action. The initiative is intended to serve as model to end impunity for torture in the region as well.
Crucial Senate Hearing on Indefinite Detention Includes PHR Testimony by Dr. Scott Allen (March 2012)
PHR's testimony by Dr. Scott Allen based on important findings from the groundbreaking report, “Punishment Before Justice: Indefinite Detention in the US,” was submitted by Senator Dianne Feinstein at a crucial Senate hearing on indefinite detention.
Forensic Documentation of Torture and Ill Treatment in Mexico (December 2008)
PHR documents the Mexican government's historic attempt and ultimate failure to implement international standards of forensic evaluations of torture and ill treatment.
In 2009, Honduran President Zelaya's attempt to reform the constitution was seen as a threat by the military and legislative branch. It was thought Zelaya would attempt to eliminate presidential term limits, so on June 28 he was overthrown in a coup. Read More »