Senate Joint Resolution (SJR 19), Torture Resolution Approved the California Legislature on August 14, 2008

Senate Joint Resolution 19 (SJR 19) requires all boards to notify licensees that those who participate in torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in United States custody are in violation of international, federal and state laws.

California licensed health professionals are prohibited from knowingly planning, designing, participating in, or assisting in the use of condemned techniques at any time and may not enlist others to employ these techniques to circumvent the prohibition. The Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and the amended War Crimes Act prohibit the torture of, and the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in United States custody.

California-licensed health professionals who participate in coercive or enhanced interrogations, torture, as defined by CAT, or other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, may one day be subject to prosecution.

If any California-licensed professional has reason to believe that interrogations are coercive or "enhanced" or involve torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, that they report their observations to the appropriate authorities. If the authorities are aware of those abusive interrogation practices, but have not intervened, then those health professionals are ethically obligated to report those practices to independent authorities that have the power to investigate and adjudicate those allegations.

No law, regulation, order, or exceptional circumstance, state of war or the threat of war nor internal political instability, or any other public emergency, can be invoked as a justification for torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

California-licensed health professionals should continue to provide appropriate health care if called upon to deal with a victim of the conduct and torture described in SJR 19.

Click here to view SJR 19.