259414 Over-reliance on torture and abuse as national security “tools”

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 1:06 PM - 1:24 PM

Christy Carnegie Fujio, JD, MA , Physicians For Human Rights, Cambridge, MA
Kristine Huskey, JD , Anti-Torture Program, Physicians for Human Rights, Washington, DC
“Enhanced interrogation” and over-use of solitary confinement to break down alleged terrorists and others held in national security and immigration detention have become increasingly widespread over the past decade. Alarmingly, many health professionals have been involved in these processes in both active and passive roles. Monitoring harm caused by interrogation and torture, reviving victims that have been rendered unconscious, and treating harm caused by overzealous interrogators, are just some of the unethical roles that health professionals have filled with the blessing of the US government. Unfortunately, a majority of the American public has acquiesced to the view that these practices are both necessary and acceptable. A major public awareness campaign needs to be undertaken, with the help of health professionals, to re-educate the American people about our human rights obligations as both a nation and a people.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe roles that health professionals have played in assisting with “enhanced interrogation” in the name of national security. 2. Analyze the ways in which health professionals have broken US and international law, as well as violated their ethical duties as health practitioners. 3. Identify ways in which health professionals can contribute to raising awareness and re-educating the public about torture and its impacts both here and abroad.

Keywords: Torture, Ethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am PHR's Director of the Anti-Torture Program, responsible for leading PHR’s investigations and reporting on the devastating consequences of torture on individuals, institutions, and society, as well as leading PHR’s advocacy for strengthening anti-torture policy and practice in the United States and globally. I have more than 10 years of experience in torture, human rights, and national security and have published and lectured on these issues widely.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.