Health Professionals’ Pledge Against Torture

May 20, 2017


IFHHRO strongly supports Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR) new “Health Professionals’ Pledge Against Torture,” following political discussion in the US regarding a potential return to waterboarding. 

Torture is prohibited under international law and medical codes of ethics. Any departure from the prohibition of torture should be stopped: please join this pledge! 

Full text (copied from website PHR)

Recent political dialogue in the United States has included open discussion of a return to waterboarding – and “worse.” This unacceptable threat to human rights demands action from everyone, especially those committed to “do no harm.” It is a critical moment for health professionals to speak out against torture.

Torture and other ill-treatment are illegal under international and domestic law. They are further prohibited under our codes of ethics, because they breach the most fundamental tenet that health professionals commit themselves to uphold: do no harm.

As health professionals, we use our scientific and professional knowledge and skills to serve humanity. Yet torture degrades the health and dignity of human beings and damages not only victims, their families, and their communities, but also perpetrators, institutions, and society itself.

In addition, as professionals guided by the best available evidence, we note that torture has been proven an ineffective means of interrogation. Using torture generates flawed intelligence and contradicts the best practices of interrogation experts.

Throughout history, members of our professions have been enlisted by governments to legitimize and sanction the use of torture. Most recently, after 9/11, American health professionals helped design and implement the systematic torture and abuse of national security detainees.

With the looming threat of a return to torture as official U.S. policy, health professionals must form a critical line of defense. We must stand together and affirm that torture is illegal, unethical, immoral, and harmful. Now, more than ever, we must put the U.S. government on notice that we are committed to the legal and ethical responsibilities of our professions.

Go to the Pledge