Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network
Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network Association is a grassroots network to provide information and advocacy for those persons who have stepped forward to report medical fraud, patient abuse and neglect and human rights violations to state, federal and international authorities.
Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network Association is a group of persons who support the advocacy of Medical Whistleblower in Lawrence, KS. Many in the network are actually Medical Whistleblowers themselves. Medical Whistleblowers are those who come forward and report medical fraud, abuse and neglect of patients and human rights violations. Medical Whistleblowers are by definition defenders of human rights. Medical Whistleblowers step forward and report these problems to federal, state and international authorities. When they do take that courageous action they are often retaliated against and find themselves struggling to hold on to their jobs and even their careers. Being a Medical Whistleblower is not easy and is a commitment to human rights values sometimes with considerable personal loss.
The Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network is a grassroots network of those who wish to support the efforts of Medical Whistleblower and provide political advocacy to end these human rights violations and to stop patient abuse and neglect and to feret out medical fraud and bring those involved to justice.
You may learn more about Medical Whistleblower by visiting our website:
We can be reached by email at:
MedicalWhistleblowers (at) gmail.com
Started 8 petitions
Protect Human Rights Defenders with HHS policy decisions and protocols
Why Health Care Reform should be about the right to health and protecting human rights defenders Health care policy needs to be about the human right to health care, Basic human rights principles hold that health care must be accessible and affordable to all, irrespective of race, gender, religion, geography, and income. Thus the protocols of the HHS to respond to human rights defenders and mandated reporters who report on human rights violations is critical to protect the human rights of patients and persons needing health care. These human rights defenders may be medical professionals or governmental agency employees working within or in conjunction with the medical community. Thus their medical whistleblower complaints may be heard by the Office of Special Counsel in the US Department of Justice or be acted upon by local or state officials in the Department of Justice or other state or federal agencies. The US Department of Justice and the US Department of Health and Human Services must work together to provide meaningful reform so as to protect human rights defenders, mandated reporters and medical whistleblowers and also provide a meaningful and effective pathway for action on their complaints. There should be a seamless way for these whistleblower cases to move forward so that no human rights violations are left unaddressed or uncorrected. Protecting human rights of patients should be a priority. Protecting the taxpayer from medical fraud is also critically important for a sustainable medical health system. Basic human rights principles hold that health care must be accessible and affordable to all, irrespective of race, gender, religion, geography, and income. The U.S. needs to now fully recognize the universality of human rights and to fully implement a health care system that fulfills the human right to health care. US health care at present has a heavy reliance on a private sector whose bottom line dictates a focus on profits over people. The international right to health delineated in United Nations documents provides clear expectations for providing the best possible health care to all people. Health care must be physically and financially accessible, and no one may be deprived of health services because of income, location, race, or insurance status. Services must meet minimum standards of quality, and must be culturally appropriate. We must build a health care system in the USA that recognizes that human dignity requires the protection not only of civil and political rights but also of economic, social, and cultural rights. Declaration of Alma-Ata, 1978, World Health Organization at Art. VII. Available at: http://www.who.dk/AboutWHO/Policy/20010827_1. A useful summary of the international agreements that establish and codify the human right to health care, entitled "The Right to Health Care in the United States: What Does it Mean?" has been published by the Center on Social and Economic Rights, and is available at CESR's website.http://www.nhchc.org/Advocacy/RighttoHealthinAmerica.pdf Economic and financial Considerations of private NGO’s more important than outcomes? US debate over health care reform has centered over political ideology and financial budget decisions. We should instead focus on a human rights approach and the underlying purpose of the health care system. We must focus on outcomes not profits. The current system is focused on maximizing the financial profit of the medical-industrial-insurance complex at the expense of individual patient health. When the system promotes hospital profits over individual patient’s right to informed choice of treatment and provider and the right to make health care decisions in keeping with their cultural and religious beliefs, we then have substituted institutional decision making based on financial profits over patient health outcomes. In addition it is important to consider that we need an integrated system for health care, one that considers the care of individual patients as an interrelated and fundamental component of public health, In the USA overall quality of care is inconsistent and inadequate and for adequate health care reform quality enforcement and measurement are necessary. Health Care should be universally available and accessible Health care must be universally available and accessible. Basic human rights principles hold that health care must be accessible and affordable to all, irrespective of race, gender, religion, geography, and income. Human rights defenders are the first to point out that minorities in the U.S. receive even poorer health care due to dramatically lower rates of minority health providers, lack of health services, and systematic discrimination. Rising insurance premiums, a growing population, and the growing costs of providing quality care, makes it clear why an increasing number of Americans cannot afford access to even basic care. Pharmaceutical corporation lobbyists adversely affect legislation and thus impact care We need human rights defenders to be heard and acknowledged by HHS leadership regarding their concerns about the unequal political lobbying of those who benefit from ignoring human rights issues in favor of profits. The general cost of health care has been incrementally increasing with the profits recorded by pharmaceutical corporations are unusually high. Lavish salaries accompany these profits. Wide profit margins for shareholders in managed care organizations, multi- million dollar salaries for pharmaceutical executives, and vast sums spent on industry lobbying represent hundreds of millions of dollars that are simply leaving the system without advancing research, delivering care, or paying medical providers. Among health care organizations, pharmaceuticals spend the most on lobbying ($96 million in 2000) followed by physicians, and health care organizations. Of the 1192 organizations involved in health care lobbying, the AMA spent $17million and the American Hospital Association $10 million. Case Western Reserve University. Case Studies shows drug companies are top health care lobbyists. (March 29, 2004) U.S. Census Bureau, Quarterly Financial Report, Third Quarter 2003, Table D, p. xviii (2003).Public Citizen Congress Watch, 2002 Drug Industry Profits: Hefty Pharmaceutical Company Margins Dwarf Other Industries (June 2003) available at http://www.citizen.org/documents/Pharma_Report.pdf. Weiss Ratings Inc., available at http://www.weissratings.com/News/Ins_HMO/20040302hmo.htm. HMO profits jumped from $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion during the first six months of 2003. BUS. WIRE, HMOs Earn $10.2 Billion in 2003, Nearly Doubling Profits, According to Weiss Ratings; Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans Report 63% Jump in Earnings (2004), available at http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=2004083000 5473&newsLang=en. We need accountability and transparency to prevent medical fraud Human Rights Defenders also help detect medical fraud and thus help protect the federal taxpayer. Health care reform must establish a mechanism for government accountability that includes holding private health care providers and insurers responsible when they commit medical fraud against the US taxpayer and the vulnerable patient populations. The level of medical fraud in this country now exceeds the level of fraud in the defense industry. Medical fraud is difficult to detect, investigate and prosecute because of the issues of patient privacy which prevents law enforcement access to critical records. Those wishing to use patients for profit realize this and thus those whose greed outweighs their moral scruples have found the medical community an excellent place to do illegal activity, including but not limited to Medicare and Medicaid fraudulent billing, illegal investment scams, SEC fraudulent filings on the public stock exchanges, and violations of human rights including violations of informed choice and human subject protections. This fraud is not without a human cost - patients in California lost their lives when they were deceived by hospital doctors and forced into unnecessary open heart surgery. The hospital was trying to maximize profit in order to pay for the debt on a very expensive open heart surgery suite. Human lives were lost and others severely harmed. In another medical fraud case doctors continued to implant a medical device even though they knew it was defective and the FDA had called for a recall. In yet another medical fraud case, pharmaceutical companies distributed informational brochures about psychiatric medications without the FDA legally mandated black box warning label that indicated that the pharmaceutical medication could cause violent tendencies including suicide and yet encouraged the prescription of those medications often extra-label to vulnerable mental health patients. The rush to privatize welfare has given the health and welfare NGO’s a profit incentive to disregard human rights principles in favor of increased profits. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in health care services to the private prisons, private nursing care facilities, private hospital and managed care corporations. With less oversight, little or no financial auditing by federal authorities, little or no outcome measurement that would meet rigorous scientific standards, we cannot assume that those who make a profit out of providing medical care and services or medical insurance, have the best interests of the patients upmost in their decision making process. [Alicia Ely Yamin, Defining Questions: Situating Issues of Power in the Formulation of a Right to Health under International Law, 18 HUM. RTS. Q. 398 (1996).] Every day the escalating cost of medical insurance has impacted the health care of millions of US citizens – this cost is a product of the rising level of undetected and unprosecuted medical fraud within the health care system. One of the reasons for this escalating rise of medical care costs is the lack of patient or consumer involvement in medical care decisions and the increasing use of tertiary decision makers often without patient knowledge or consent. Patients often are the first to notice the effects of medical fraud because it directly impacts them in their daily lives. Thus we need to reaffirm the right of patients to assert their human rights – including informed consent and human subjects’ protections. In addition persons of ethical conduct who are mandated reporters are obligated to report human rights violations but there is not yet a system for protection of these essential defenders of human rights nor is there a clear pathway for effective action on the complaints of human rights defenders. Does the doctor or hospital know best? Clearly not, especially when there are millions of dollars of profit at stake. (Sources: Anderson et al., supra note 47 at 91-92, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES PRESS RELEASE, available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/media/press/release.asp?Counter=935) This petition is addressed to: Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. - Washington, D.C. 20201 E-mail: Kathleen.Sebelius@hhs.gov Phone: (202) 690-7000 William V. Corr, J.D., HHS Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. - Washington, D.C. 20201 Phone: 202-690-6133 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Laura Petrou, Chief of Staff E-mail: COS_info@hhs.gov Phone: 202-690-8157 For your information I list below the international law that currently applies and the historical context of UN treaty ratification. United States of America Obligations under International Law United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 The United Nations Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999 http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/declaration.htm CAT - ratified Oct. 21, 1994 The UN Convention against Torture http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/ ICERD - ratified Oct. 21, 1994 The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/cerd.pdf http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cerd.htm ICCPR - ratified June 8, 1992 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/ccpr.pdf The Palermo Protocol - ratified http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CTOC/index.html The Geneva Conventions or Aug. 12, 1949 and additional protocols I and II - all ratified http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/f6c8b9fee14a77fdc125641e0052b079 OP-CRC-SC - ratified Dec. 23, 2002 (art. 3 para 1 and 4 para 1) http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Shared_ASP_Files/UploadedFiles/%7BD61309F4-0374-44C8-8CD1-8BD8228ACB69%7D_StatusofRatifications4.pdf OP-CRC-AC ratified Dec. 23, 2002 http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Shared_ASP_Files/UploadedFiles/%7BD61309F4-0374-44C8-8CD1-8BD8228ACB69%7D_StatusofRatifications4.pdf The Principle of Human Rights – as stated in UN human rights documents: Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 25 (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. (Source: UDHR, U.N.G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71 (1948)) International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights Article 12 (1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. (2) The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for: (a) The provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child; (b) The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene; (c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases; (d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness. (Source: ICESCR U.N.G.A. res. 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 (entry into force 3 January 1976, in accordance with article 27)) International and human rights infrastructure: Together, the Covenants and the UDHR constitute the International Bill of Human Rights. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, U.N.G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71 (1948) [hereinafter “UDHR”]. Although the UDHR is a General Assembly declaration instead of a treaty, it may be legally binding on the U.S. as either customary international law or as authoritative interpretation of the U.N. Charter. See Henry J. Steiner & Philip Alston, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS IN CONTEXT: LAW, POLITICS, MORALS 143 (2d ed. 2000). ICESCR. The U.S. signed the ICESCR on 5 October 1977, but has not yet been ratified, which is required to make it legally binding. However, the U.S. signature indicates its support of the ICESCR provisions, and makes its terms politically binding. In addition, the U.S. is part of an international system that views right to health as an essential human right, including the World Health Organization Charter, the Conventions Nos. 102 and 103 of the International Labor Organization, and Rules 22 to 26 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [hereinafter “CESCR”], General Comment 14, The right to the highest attainable standard of health, CESCR, 22nd Sess., para. 4, U.N. Doc. E/CN.12/2000/4 (2000). UDHR preamble, para. 2 (“the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people”). The UDHR and the ICESCR form the backbone of the human right to health under international law. However, the provisions of the two treaties are general. While they recognize the right of everyone to enjoy “the highest attainable standard” of health, they do not offer an exact recipe for implementation, nor do they take a position on the respective desirability of public or private financing for health care. The U.N. Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the primary body responsible for interpreting the ICESCR, has however developed guidelines on how the right to health should be interpreted at the national level. The first fundamental component of those guidelines is a minimum floor below which no country may fall, which in the case of health means ensuring essential primary health care for the entire population. In its General Comment No. 3, the CESCR clarified steps that should be taken by governments regardless of their “economic and political systems.” In General Comment No. 14, the Committee enumerated four substantive interrelated elements which are essential to the right to health: availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality. The right to health is also recognized in regional instruments including the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (article 33), the European Social Charter (article 11), and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights (article 16), and in other international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (articles 23 and 24), Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (article 10(a), 11(f), 12, and 14(b)), and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (article 5(e)(iv)). As of July 12, 2010, the United States does not have a national human rights institution accredited by the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. CERD recommended that the US consider the establishment of a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles. CRC and the Working Group of experts on people of African Descent made similar recommendations. CERD recommended that the State ensure a coordinated approach towards the implementation of the Convention at the federal, state and local levels.CAT noted that the USA had a federal structure and had an obligation to implement the Convention against Torture in full at the domestic level. Likewise, CRC recommended strengthening coordination in the areas covered by OP-CRC-SC, both at the federal and state levels. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to life and freedom of association and expression, should be protected from violations not only by State agents, but also private persons or entities. Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 31 on article 2 of the Covenant on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant, 26 May 2004. A/RES/58/178 of 22 December 2003 The United Nations Charter and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 8 March 1999, adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and subsequent resolutions. The United States has a responsibility in relation to actions and omissions of non-State actors Article 12, paragraph 3, of the Declaration, also reiterated by numerous human rights bodies, the Human Rights Committee and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Declaration of Alma-Ata, 1978, World Health Organization at Art. VII. Available at: http://www.who.dk/AboutWHO/Policy/20010827_1.
Prevent Abuse of Teens in Residential Treatment Programs
We call on our US Senators to draft legislation that will protect teens from abuse in residential programs. Now that H.R. 911 – Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009 has passed the US house, we need similar legislation to be passed by the US Senate. Investigations conducted by the Government Accountability Office during the 110th Congress uncovered thousands of cases and allegations of child abuse and neglect since the early 1990’s at teen residential programs. Currently, these programs are governed only by a weak patchwork of state and federal standards. A separate GAO report, also conducted last year at the committee’s request, found major gaps in the licensing and oversight of residential programs – some of which are not covered by any state licensing standards at all. GAO concluded that without adequate oversight “the well-being and civil rights of youth in some facilities will remain at risk.” State reported data to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System in 2005 found that 34 states reported 1503 incidents of youth maltreatment by residential facility staff. Of the states surveyed by GAO, 28 reported at least one youth fatality in a residential facility in 2006. GAO concluded both of these statistics understate the incidents of maltreatment and death. We need a bill in the US Senate that will like H.R. 911 would establish minimum standards for preventing child abuse and neglect at teen residential programs. It would require states to inform the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of reports of abuse and neglect at covered programs, require investigations of such programs and require the HHS to issue civil penalties against programs that violate the new standards. The bill also calls for states, within three years, to take on the role of setting and enforcing standards for both private and public youth residential programs. Please support ask your US Senator to support the excellent legislative work done by the US House under the leadership of Congressman George Miller. For additional information about the H.R. 911 please see these links: Chairperson George Miller (CA) Opening Statement » http://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/2008/04/child-abuse-and-deceptive-mark.shtml For more information on this legislation, click here. For more information on the committee’s past hearings on these abuses, at which GAO released its reports, click here. - Summary (CRS) - Votes - Full Text Feb 23, 2009: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill, needing a two-thirds majority. This usually occurs for non-controversial legislation. The totals were 295 Ayes, 102 Nays, 35 Present/Not Voting. Vote Details. - Committee Assignments - Reports - Related Legislation
Make Torture of US Citizens on US soil a crime under Title 18
Torture of US Citizens on US Soil Not a Crime? Would it surprise you to know that torture of US Citizens on US soil is not a crime under the US Federal Criminal Code? But that is the truth in spite of the US signing and ratifying the UN Convention against Torture (CAT). Torture as a distinct crime done by governmental officials in the USA is not punishable under US law. Torture would clearly be a violation of someone's constitutional rights, but there are no laws – either state or federal which address police torture. This reality came into sharp focus when a former Chicago police commander, Jon Burge, did not face torture charges for alleged acts of brutality including a mock execution of a detainee, beatings to coerce confessions, using a cattle prod on one suspect’s genitals, and burning other prisoners on a hot radiator. Mayor Daley, who was the prosecutor at that time, did not prosecute despite mounting evidence regarding Mr. Burge's systemic abuse of prisoners. From the 1980’s till he was fired in 1993, Mr. Burge and other police officers allegedly tortured 110 men. Mistreatment or abuse of prisoners is considered battery by the current laws because in the state of Illinois there is no statute that criminalizes acts of torture by police officers. Torture is prohibited by US Federal Law under Section 2340A of Title 18, United States Code. This statute prohibits torture committed by public officials under color of law against persons within the public official's custody or control. Torture is defined to include acts specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. But this statute applies only to acts of torture committed outside the United States. Thus on US soil, torture by public officials on captive detainees is not prosecuted even though it is against the Convention Against Torture and is in violation of international law. So within the state of Illinois the torture of detained human beings is not punishable, but there is legislation that criminalizes the torture of animals. Under 510 ILCS 70/3.03 Sec. 3.03, Animal Torture is a Class 3 Felony; punishment for a violation includes probation or conditional discharge not to exceed 30 months, and a fine of up to $25,000.00 and incarceration from 2 to 5 years. Thus animals in the state of Illinois have more protection under law against torture than do human beings – especially persons of color such as those prisoners tortured and mistreated by Mr. Burge. Human rights and civil rights advocates are calling for new trials for 23 men wrongfully convicted based on coerced confessions in Chicago. Chicago’s leading civil rights agencies, like PUSH, NAACP and the Chicago Urban League joined with the Illinois Coalition Against Torture, and a broad coalition of community groups, to try to enact laws that criminalize police torture. The Illinois Coalition Against Torture also wants to remove statutes of limitation that are currently preventing police torture victims from filing criminal charges. US Congressman Danny K. Davis from Illinois had drafted H.R.5688: The Law Enforcement Torture Prevention Act of 2010 to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a criminal penalty for torture committed by law enforcement officers and others acting under color of law. This legislation which was intended to give torture victims the redress needed to bring their abusers to justice has not passed out of committee nor garnered adequate support to make it to the floor of the US House of Representatives. There are only a few weeks left in the legislative session and thus this important legislation may need to be reintroduced again in the next session of Congress for any further action to be taken on this important human rights issue. Please support this important legislation by signing our petition and communicating with your US Congressman/woman. See full text of this bill at: - Full Text
Provide Unbiased Professional Torture Evaluations to US Citizens who are Torture Victims
All persons have the human right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is absolute. This is such a fundamental human right that there are no exceptions or limitations. Nations are obligated not to inflict torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on individuals. Nations are also required by International Law and Human Rights principles to take all necessary measures to protect its citizens from ill-treatment – whether carried out by state officials or private individuals or groups. Yet in the United States there is no direct avenue by which a person who has been subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment may be evaluated properly by an internationally recognized human rights professional torture evaluator within the USA. Evaluations of non citizens are routinely done by human rights organizations within the USA, but not of persons with US citizenship because of legal liability concerns of the NGO's doing the evaluations. Thus US citizens must ask for asylum from another nation in order to obtain a valid torture evaluation by an experienced and trained professional who is versed in the complexities of international law and the current valid good practices of how to perform such an evaluation. It is a human rights violation to require a victim of torture, inhuman treatment, degrading treatment or punishment to surrender their USA citizenship to be properly evaluated in a manner consistent with providing evidence to the World Criminal Court. Biased evaluations forced on a torture survivor by those involved or associated with the abuser(s) are not valid. Torture evaluations must be independent, unbiased and professional and conducted in accordance with internationally accepted standards. Alleged victims of torture or ill-treatment, witnesses, those conducting the investigation and their families shall be protected from violence, threats of violence or any other form of intimidation that may arise pursuant to the investigation. Those potentially implicated in torture or ill-treatment shall be removed from any position of control or power, whether direct or indirect, over complainants, witnesses and their families, as well as those conducting the investigation. Alleged victims of torture or ill-treatment and their legal representatives shall be informed of, and have access to, any hearing, as well as to all information relevant to the investigation, and shall be entitled to present other evidence. In cases in which the established investigative procedures are inadequate because of insufficient expertise or suspected bias, or because of the apparent existence of a pattern of abuse or for other substantial reasons, the USA shall ensure that investigations are undertaken through an independent commission of inquiry or similar procedure. Members of such a commission shall be chosen for their recognized impartiality, competence and independence as individuals. In particular, they shall be independent of any suspected perpetrators and the institutions or agencies they may serve. The commission shall have the authority to obtain all information necessary to the inquiry and shall conduct the inquiry as provided for under these Principles. A written report, made within a reasonable time, shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact and on applicable law. Upon completion, the report shall be made public. It shall also describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred and the evidence upon which such findings were based and list the names of witnesses who testified, with the exception of those whose identities have been withheld for their own protection. The State shall, within a reasonable period of time, reply to the report of the investigation and, as appropriate, indicate steps to be taken in response. Medical experts involved in the investigation of torture or ill-treatment shall behave at all times in conformity with the highest ethical standards and, in particular, shall obtain informed consent before any examination is undertaken. The examination must conform to established standards of medical practice. In particular, examinations shall be conducted in private under the control of the medical expert and outside the presence of security agents and other government officials. Definitions: Torture - Deliberate inhuman treatment causing very serious and cruel suffering Inhuman treatment or punishment - Intense physical or mental suffering Degrading treatment or punishment - Treatment which arouses in the victim feelings of fear, anguish and inferiority capable of humiliation and debasement and possibly breaking physical or moral resistance. Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Article 15. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality UN Special Rapporteur on Torture http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/torture/rapporteur/ Torture - International standards Convention on the Rights of the Child Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OP-CAT) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of the Liberty United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice Principles relating to the status of national institutions (The Paris Principles)
Save Persons with Mental Health Disabilities from Human Rights Abuses
Mental health care is in a crisis in communities across the country, and we need your help. Support Housing First models of care and Independent Living Principles for all persons with mental health disabilities. Provide care consistent with the United States obligations to the human rights principles as stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the ICCPR, the Convention against Torture (CAT), and Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). State and community mental health systems should provide public mental health care and access to non drug treatment, psychological services, and supportive programs geared to promote self determination and independent living for children and adults with mental health disabilities. Persons with mental health disabilities are vulnerable to pharmaceutical fraud, patient abuse, and guardianship abuse by those who financially gain by repeat hospitalizations and forced drugging. In these times of budget considerations, we should consider non drug treatment and community support systems first, not pharmaceutical forced drugging. Tell State and local officials to prevent distribution of pharmaceutical false advertising and pharmaceutical fraud against vulnerable patients. Lend your voice and help join thousands of other advocates to prevent this crisis. Contact your governor and state legislators to make state legislation and enforcement of mental health law within your state consistent with human rights standards, as is required by our USA obligations to International Human Rights Law. Ask them to Save Persons with Mental Health Disabilities from Pharmaceutical Fraud and Abuse.
Protect Our Medical Whistleblowers
Persons who are medical whistleblowers are by definition Defenders of Human Rights because they are persons who have stepped forward to provide information about medical fraud against vulnerable populations, patient abuse and neglect, and human rights violations. These defenders of human rights are concerned about human rights involving violations of minor children, elderly, disabled, mental health patients, prisoners, migrants, immigrants and patients in hospital treatment for addiction. Many are mandated reporters under state or US federal law. Medical whistleblowers come from all walks of life and many professional disciplines. Defenders of human rights within the medical community represent significant sources of intelligence about criminal activity and violation of patients' rights within a medical context due to their unique access to information not readily available to law enforcement. Patient abuse can be physical, financial, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse. Because of their efforts to "Tell Truth to Power" defenders of human rights (medical whistleblowers) often become themselves victims of crime and their own human rights violated. Defenders of human rights are often retaliated against by those whose criminal wrongdoings the defender is exposing. The lack of proper due process and use of immunity granted by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act has allowed persons to intimidate mandated reporters and destroy their professional careers with impunity. Those who are criminally culpable for violations of state and federal law or even human rights violations frequently use bad faith peer review to tarnish the professional record of a medical whistleblower. The federal government should publicly condemn intimidation, harassment and physical attacks directed at health care providers who ensure access to fundamental human rights. The government should also take action to prevent such attacks, to protect health care professionals against such attacks, and to prosecute those who perpetrate attacks. The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1999 with the full support of the U.S., recognizes the central role played by those who promote the realization of human rights and sets out the special obligation of governments to protect them. And U.N. expert reports have recognized that health care providers are entitled to special protection as human rights defenders where they fulfill their professional duties in a way that promotes human rights, such as the right to health and the freedom from abuse and neglect.
Urge the President to Issue an Executive Order on Domestic Human Rights
The time for action is NOW. President Obama should issue an Executive Order that holds the U.S. accountable for its human rights committments.
Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
We the undersigned are calling on the United States Congress to Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which values independence, respect, and the vital concept of reasonable accommodation, was the model for the CRPD and those values are reflected in the CRPD treaty. The U.S. Senate failed to ratify the treaty last December by just a few votes but the treaty will be considered again soon. The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century; and the President of the United States signed the treaty on July 30, 2009 and it is now necessary to ratify the treaty. The United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus a landmark treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on December 13 2006, to promote and protect the rights of the world's 650 million Disabled people. The Convention will require ratifying nations "to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity" and promote awareness of the capabilities of those who have disabilities. Historically, persons with disabilities have been marginalized, stigmatized, and deprived of opportunities and freedoms afforded to individuals without disabilities; and the Convention also requires governments to fight stereotypes of people with disabilities. The Convention also recognizes that attitudes need to change if disabled people are to achieve equality. As of September 2013, the CRPD has 158 signatories and 137 ratifying parties worldwide, including the European Union. The U.S. federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, was the model for the United Nations treaty known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which requires participating countries to provide equal access for the disabled. The United States has not yet ratified the CRPD and the Senate fell five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify the treaty. The CRPD ratification was blocked by GOP senators who read into its broad language, variously, a potential ban on home schooling, a right to abortion and other mandates they said might threaten U.S. sovereignty. Misinformation about these issues abound, but the truth is that the treaty does not even go as far as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is already the law of this land. Unfortunately a campaign of misinformation brought about the defeat of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the U.S. Senate last December. So to clarify a few of the issues raised: What is a human rights convention? A convention, or treaty, is a legally binding document between 2 or more countries. A human rights convention is a treaty that deals specifically with human rights. The International convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is a “thematic treaty”, meaning that it defines the human rights of a particular demographic (in this case, the human rights of people with disabilities).Is "signing" a convention the same thing as "ratifying" it? No. A country that signs the Convention becomes a signatory, and a country that ratifies the convention becomes a States Party. Becoming a signatory qualifies the state (nation) to proceed toward ratification, and establishes an obligation to refrain from any acts that violate the principles of the Convention. Becoming a states party (ratifying nation) means that the country agrees to be legally bound by the treaty. If a nation both signs and ratifies at the same time, it is said to "ascend".What happens if a country decides not to sign or ratify a convention? First, a convention must be "adopted," which means it becomes open for countries to sign. It is then up to each country to decide whether it chooses to sign or ratify the convention. Like most conventions, the CRPD requires that at least 20 countries ratify it before it can "enter into force." To "enter into force" means a treaty becomes active, and the ratifying countries are required to implement it.Once the Convention becomes international law, the core concept of equal rights for people with disability will become the norm. As has occurred with other treaties, this new recognition of basic human rights will begin to be incorporated into the national laws of nations which don’t ratify the Convention. This will benefit people with disabilities who live in those nations, and may spur additional nations to opt for ratification in the coming years as their laws begin to include the rights guaranteed under the Convention. Will ratification of the CRPD affect U.S. Sovereignty? All human rights treaties passed by the U.S. Senate include RUD (Reservations, Understandings and Declarations), legally binding conditions added to treaties to protect U.S. sovereignty. After considerable investigative study into the effect of treaty ratification, the Obama administration's investigation results concluded that U.S. sovereignty has not been affected by previous treaties ratified by the Senate. U.S. sovereignty would not be impacted by ratifying this treaty either. In fact, the U.S. is in compliance with this treaty already and thus ratification by the Senate required no changes to U.S. law. That package even defined disability as ADA defines it. If U.S. ratifies it, then the U.S. can have a seat at the table of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). They are not a law-making body, but make recommendations to countries regarding accessibility and implementation of the treaty. Ratifying the CRPD gives a country the right to send representatives to high-level meetings among countries in which people discuss the best practices for CRPD implementation. These meetings are a critical vehicle for disseminating ideas and influencing other countries to consider ways to improve their practices in defending the rights of people with disabilities. But because the United States has only signed, and not yet ratified, the CRPD, we in the US have effectively excluded ourselves from that conversation. In order to increase our influence, the U.S.A. needs to ratify the CRPD in order join these high-level conversations. Ratification of the CRPD provides additional protections for U.S. citizens with disabilities when traveling abroad. In many countries, accessibility and disability rights are far less than in the U.S. Will it affect Parental Rights? There would be no change in U.S. law if the CRPD would be ratified, instead ratification would confirm our commitment to disability rights. The right of patents to home school their own children would not be impacted. The CRPD supports the right of persons with disabilities to live integrated into their community and protects parents and children from separation based on disability. What does the CRPD say about Rights of the Unborn? The CRPD states that access to health care for persons with disabiities should be the same as persons without disabilities and the treaty emphasizes non-discrimination based on disability. What rights does the CRPD cover?The right to legal capacity (to make one’s own decisions)The right to liberty The right to live in the community The right to respect for physical & mental integrity The right to freedom from torture, violent exploitation and abuse The right to healthcare and to free and informed consent in health services The right to education The right to vote and to participate in public & cultural life The right to work, and to an adequate standard of living The right to privacy The right to habilitation & rehabilitation The right to receive information in accessible formats The right to marry and to divorce, and to share equally in child custody The right to procreate, & the right to obtain contraception The right to sign contracts, and own and inherit propertyThe right to accessible public transit and public accommodations The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), has been ratified by more than 100 countries. The U.S.A. has shown inspired leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities through the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The CRPD provides a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities. We as advocates support the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We will actively pursue a commitment from the United States to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and recommit ourselves as a country to human rights, empowerment and independent living for all people with disabilities of the world.