Friday, March 8, 2013

Widespread Torture Disguised as Medical Care


     Just a few days ago, an independent United Nations human rights expert called the UN Human Rights Council’s attention to a form of torture that has been generally neglected by the world: medical care. The general public has a largely positive connotation of health care and medical care, and generally speaking, health care systems bring about immensely positive changes to cities and countries around the world. However, Juan Méndez, the UN’s “Special Rapporteur” on torture and other inhuman treatment and punishment, approached the council with evidence of widespread torture taking place across the world under the guise of health or medical care. For example, people with psychosocial disabilities, sex workers, street children and homeless individuals are often detained in “rehabilitation centers” which cause severe suffering for no justifiable medical reason. If there is state involvement or any specific intent, this cruel and unjust treatment falls under the current UN definition of torture. Méndez also cites examples of authorities denying addicts medication in order to elicit a criminal confession, which he also considers torture (and a violation of basic human rights).
     Personally, I was extremely shocked to read about the terrible treatment beneficiaries of medical care receive. Some of the examples the UN torture expert cited take place in the United States as well, and are allowed to exist solely because people assume everything under the umbrella of medical care is largely positive. The relatively low amount of investigation into the treatment of victims in rehabilitation centers is also shocking. Hopefully this report can serve as a call to action of sorts for the US and other nations in the UN, and can encourage these countries to examine their medical care systems with more scrutiny. 

Link to article:

No comments:

Post a Comment