Uphold the value of human rights

The US military should be a force in the service of American values such as human rights. We call on physicians and all other Americans to avoid any and all complicity in acts of torture.

The United States military should be a force in the service of American values and the defense of human rights. Help us now to stop the torture, rape, and sexual abuse of military prisoners and those illegally detained at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo and elsewhere. As Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, "The time is always right to do what is right.” Please take just 30 seconds to act on this important issue.

 In addition to signing this petition, you can also express your opposition to cruel, inhuman and degrading practices by organizing protests and writing letters to your congressional representatives and your local media.  You can give the McCain Anti-Torture Amendment your personal voice. As patriotic and law-abiding American citizens, we wish to uphold the values of humanity before the entire world.

Specifically, we call upon all doctors and medical professionals to refuse to cooperate in torture. International political organizations have condemned torture categorically and there are specific prohibitions against physician involvement in torture (such as the 1975 Declaration of Tokyo by the World Medical Association). In 1999, the American Medical Association adopted a formal position on physician involvement in torture, stating that “[p]hysicians must oppose and must not participate in torture for any reason. Participation in torture includes, but is not limited to, providing or withholding any service, substances, or knowledge to facilitate the practice of torture. Physicians must not be present when torture is used or threatened” (American Medical Association. Opinion 2.067 Torture. Code of Medical Ethics and Current Opinions). 

It is not acceptance of torture but resistance to torture that is the hallmark of medical ethics.  And yet, the mistreatment of prisoners at the Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, called the moral commitments of US military medicine into question. It is important that the military work with medicine to define procedures that will keep physicians from complicity in the evils of torture.  But we also call on physicians within and outside the military, especially those called on to care for prisoners, to avoid any and all complicity in acts of torture.


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