Tuesday, 14 December 2010

President Obama's response to UPR on whistle-blowing By Dr Janet Parker MS, DVM

Dr Janet Parker wrote to Dr Helen Bright:

I hope things are going well for you. I did want to let you know the progress I had bringing my concerns for the human rights of medical whistleblowers. On Friday, November 5, the United States underwent its first-ever Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. The UPR was a rigorous examination of U.S. human rights policy, and demonstrated that the U.S. has a long way to go to fulfill its human rights obligations.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that they are “endowed with reason and conscience.”

You will see that many of the issues presented by the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network have been included in the report by the President. I was much honored to be asked to give direct testimony and to have the proposed language read to me by the Office of the Secretary of State over the phone prior to submission to the United Nations. Medical Whistleblowers need to have their human rights protected especially their rights to freedom, equality, and dignity. I was especially pleased that the President included the signing of the CRPD and the Tribal Indian Law Act; Medical Whistleblower supported both with active efforts this past year. I am also happy about the tone of the Presidents' message on many issues.

I have actively advocated for abolishing torture as a means of interrogation and asked the President to issue an executive order forbidding torture. I, as Executive Director of Medical Whistleblower, attended training in New Orleans with experts from the Physicians for Human Rights on the issue of torture evaluation. I, in person, discussed our challenges of torture evaluation of US citizens with important leaders in human rights such as the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis and the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture in Toronto Canada.

We also did discuss the death penalty - my state senator Marci Francisco helped present that issue to the President and I am grateful for her experience and knowledge of that issue here in my home state. As you know I did provide advocacy in regards to the possible death penalty for Dr. Lishan Wang MD who stands criminally accused of murdering Dr. Vanjinder Toor MD.

The issue of homelessness which I have actively worked on for 3 years also made the report - I appreciated the work of Attorney Eric Tars JD, Attorney Maria Foscarinis JD and other staff at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

I have been happy in the responsiveness of our President on many fronts and over so many issues. We still need a greater acknowledgment of the concerns of the Mandated Reporters, Medical Fraud Whistleblowers, Defenders of Human Rights and Patient Advocates.
Greater consideration must be taken to assure proper criminal investigation of whistleblower complaints and protection of medical whistleblowers. US policies that are inconsistent with international human rights standards must be changed and political, economic and social rights need to be enforced effectively within our legal system.

Still, while the U.S. evaded some crucial questions, its participation in the process is a step in the right direction and I believe that the report is an excellent start.

Dr. Janet Parker DVM
Executive Director, Medical Whistleblower
Director of the working board Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network
P.O. Box C
Lawrence, KS 66044

Comments from Dr Helen Bright:

Universal Periodic Review (A/HRC/8/25 , 23rd May 2008) Report of the Working Group for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland identified a number of serious breaches of Human Rights in UK.
It made various recommendations and many have not been implemented up to date. There was nothing specific in UPR about medical whistleblowers or whistleblowers in general although recommendation No: 7 did say that the rights of individual protesters to exercise their freedom of expression and opinion was not reflected in UK legislation which had not been harmonized with Human Rights Act 1998.

And here is what UK agreed to:
UK is quite complacent as it seems very happy that freedom of speech is fully protected.

Medical institutions in UK have been ineffective in protecting medical whistleblowers and have opted for the appearance of cohesion of medical profession by sacrificing of talented whistleblower doctors through its sham medical reviews at the General Medical Council and general means of harassment over many years.

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