(12th October 2005) Press release - DHR writes to President Bush
Doctors for Human Rights tells President Bush that force feeding of hunger strikers violates international law and medical ethical codes

Doctors for Human Rights has written to Mr Bush expressing concern about the treatment of those detainees at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base who have been on hunger strike for up to 2 months. Consistent reports describe their being force fed fluids and nutrition by artificial means, including nasogastric tubes, against their wishes.

“In Britain we learnt a century ago, after suffragettes were repeatedly force fed by court order, that it violated each person’s right to decide what happens to his or her body“, DHR’s chair Dr Peter Hall said. “We told President Bush that the administration of any treatment - whether drugs, surgery or food or water - against the wishes of anyone with the capacity to give informed refusal, is a gross violation of their rights under international law, and, in as much as any doctors are complicit, is a gross violation of medical ethics too“ he continued. “All medical codes, from the 2,400 year old Hippocratic Oath to the World Medical Associations 1975 Tokyo and 1991 Malta Declarations, proscribe the giving of any treatment to a patient who is refusing the treatment.“

The London - based human rights organization Doctors for Human Rights asked President Bush to protect the rights under international law of those detainees who have chosen to go on hunger strike, and to respect the rights of medical personnel employed in the service of his government not to be complicit in violations of medical ethics.


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