Petition Closed
Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives and 2 others

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)

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
President of the United States
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 NGO 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.

Permit victims of torture and ill treatment to seek torture evaluations in another country without the need to surrender their US citizenship or loosing their legal rights to the US Courts by requesting asylum to obtain a torture evaluation.