Medact and RSM Event: Torture – An ethical dilemma for the medical profession?

Medact and the Royal Society of Medicine are holding an event on 29th April: “Torture – An ethical dilemma for the medical profession?”

Torture is all too common and widespread; and it comes into touch with many parts of the medical and public health system. What is the ethical position of clinicians working in prison or detention settings, when facing conflicts between the demands of the detaining authorities and the best interests of their patients? How can we navigate the space between conscience and complicity? Who will protect doctors who blow the whistle on unacceptable practices? When is feeding a hunger striker unethical? And how should clinicians in other healthcare settings respond when encountering suspected victims of abuse and torture?

All these questions and more will be discussed – from a global and local perspective – by leading experts on the complex issue of the role of medical professionals working in systems that torture or with survivors of torture. Case studies from the UK, US, Syria and Israel/Palestine will be presented.

For more information and to book a ticket, please visit the Royal Society of Medicine Global Health event site.

Speaker biographies

Jim Welsh, Amnesty International
Jim has worked with Amnesty International since 1981 and is now their Medical Coordinator based in London, UK, campaigning specifically on issues around torture, the repression of medical professionals, and access to health care in prison settings.

Dr Frank Arnold, Medact
Frank is a Board Member of Medact, a London-based global health rights charity, which campaigns, among other things, for the independence of medical professionals in prison settings involving abuse and torture worldwide. He is also the founder of Medical Justice, an organisation that exposes and challenges inadequate healthcare provision to immigration detainees in the UK. He has examined and written medical reports about over 500 asylum seekers who describe being tortured in more than 20 countries. In 2013 Frank was involved in a campaign for access to independent medical advice for hunger strikers in Guantanamo Bay.

Hadas Ziv, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Hadas is a leading health and human rights activist in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. She has worked for Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) in various capacities, including as its Executive Director, since 1995.