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Call for abstracts international conference on law and non-communicable diseases

The European Scientific Network on Law and Tobacco (ESNLT), coordinated by our partner the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre, is calling for abstracts for the international conference Law and Noncommunicable Diseases. Subtitled “The cross-cutting role of law in NCD control and regulating risk factors”, this event will take place on 31 May and 1 June 2018 in Groningen, The Netherlands.

This two-day conference aims to bring together leading scholars, young researchers and practitioners from all over the world to share insights on recent research and developments on the cross-cutting role of law in NCD prevention and regulating NCD-related risk factors.

There are four different tracks:

  • Track 1: Recent developments and tensions in NCD laws
  • Track 2: Scaling up: regulation of all risk factors and lessons learned from tobacco control
  • Track 3: Translational law and policy: the effectiveness of NCD interventions
  • Track 4: Slippery slope and the legitimacy and possible limits of NCD laws

Important dates and information

  • Abstract submission  by 7 April 2018
  • Abstract notification by 21 April 2018
  • Registration open by 1 March 2018
  • Limited travel grants are available for early career researchers working on law and tobacco control. NB: Please send a short CV including publications and short motivation letter to esnlt@rug.nl upon registration.
  • Depending on the number of abstracts, we might organize a PhD Seminar on Wednesday 30 May 2018.

Australia: Abuse and neglect of prisoners with disabilities

People with disabilities in prisons across Australia are at serious risk of sexual and physical violence, and are disproportionately held in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day, Human Rights Watch said in a report released earlier this month. The 93-page report, “I Needed Help, Instead I Was Punished: Abuse and Neglect of Prisoners with Disabilities in Australia,” examines how prisoners with disabilities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, are at serious risk of bullying, harassment, violence, and abuse from fellow prisoners and staff.

Prisoners Human Rights Watch report on abuse and neglect of prisoners with disabilities in Australiawith psychosocial disabilities – mental health conditions – or cognitive disabilities in particular can spend days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years locked up alone in detention or safety units.

State and federal governments should end the use of solitary confinement for prisoners with disabilities, ensure that appropriate services are available to meet their needs, and more effectively screen prisoners for disabilities as they enter prison.


Clinical care and complicity with torture

Recently, the BMJ (British Medical Journal) published an article by Len Rubenstein, Zackary Berger and Matthew DeCamp entitled “Clinical care and complicity with torture”. It states that release of previously classified guidelines from the CIA regarding medical practice in secret detention facilities shows that the CIA instructed health professionals to “subordinate their fundamental ethical obligations regarding professionals standards of care to further the objectives of the torturers”.

Enhanced interrogation methods

From 2002 the CIA operated secret overseas prisons where terrorism suspects were detained and interrogated using “enhanced” methods such as extended sleep deprivation, confinement in a small box, exposure to cold water and air, stress positions and waterboarding. Medical officers were told that they were responsible for ensuring that enhanced interrogation methods did not result in serious or prolonged physical injury or death, although the limitations still permitted practices widely recognized as torture.

The authors call upon “professional organizations [to] stipulate that members do not practice in an environment where torture is taking place unless they are working exclusively for the benefit of the patient.” Those who violate this obligation should be disciplined. The authors also call on the World Medical Association to adopt amendments to the Declaration of Tokyo accordingly.

Read the full-text article