WEST BANK (Dispatches) – A study of the Israeli Medical Association’s (IMA) complicity in the practice of torture in the occupied territories has uncovered serious shortcomings within the World Medical Association (WMA).
After over a decade of failing to hold the IMA to account over its breach of medical ethics, Dr. Derek Summerfield of King’s College London has accused the WMA of “partisan violation of its mandate to be the official international watchdog on the ethical behavior of doctors.”
Summerfield has presented an account of a 12-year campaign, initiated in 2009 by 725 doctors, including 115 professors from 43 countries, urging the WMA to take action over the IMA’s complicity in torture of Palestinians by Zionist troops.
His account has been published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Summerfield concluded that the international regulatory code for doctors on the issue of torture is “largely window dressing”.
The WMA is mandated to ensure that its member associations do not breach WMA codes such as those related to torture.
The group of doctors involved asked the council of the world body to investigate the IMA’s ethical track record in the light of the evidence, and thus to review the probity of the recent appointment of IMA President Yoram Blachar as president of the WMA.
Describing the campaign’s objective, Summerfield, a senior lecturer at London’s Institute of Psychiatry, said that it was a “litmus test” of whether international medical codes regarding doctors and torture matter, and whether they are applied rigorously and even-handedly.
“Our findings in the case of Israel suggest that this is not true, and that impunity largely operates,” he explained.
Leading independent organizations have on numerous occasions reported that Palestinian detainess are exposed to systematic torture and various forms of abuse, and the practices have apparently been legitimized by the Zionist regime’s judiciary.
Last years, Save the Children said in a report that there were at least 200 Palestinian children behind bars at Ofer, Damon and Megiddo detention centers, and the detainees include children with disabilities and mental health problems.
The report added that Damon and Megiddo prisons were heavily congested, and child prisoners were kept there in close proximity to each other in squalid and unsanitary conditions.
Save the Children noted that children in custody were mistreated in an “appalling” matter and they “are being harmed.”