Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1



"We will not enjoy security without development, we will not enjoy development without security, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights."

—UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

"There is only one moral, as there is only one geometry."

Voltaire 1694-1778, French philosopher, writer and deist satirist, the embodiment of the 18th-century French Enlightenment, a crusader against tyranny and bigotry.

Thou shalt not be a victim.... Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.... Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander
- Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

"As for those that have faith and do good works, God will bestow on them their rewards and enrich them from his own abundance."

Koran, Surah Women, 4:173

Human Rights Are:

Human rights are rights and freedoms that belong to all people.


Human rights are:

Inherent - they apply to each person because they are human

Inalienable - you cannot give them up and others may only interfere with them in certain cases (for example your right to liberty may be restricted if a court finds you guilty of a crime)

Universal - they apply to everyone regardless of race, sex, language, religion or disability (including mental health problems) or other differences, and interdependent and indivisible - they are equally important and often one human right is needed to enjoy another.

Human Rights Yes!

This information came from the Human Rights Yes! curriculum - Action and Advocacy.  For more information, please contact the Human Rights Resource Center:

N-120 Mondale Hall
229 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 626-0041
(888) HREDUC8 (888-473-3828)

"If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values -- that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control."

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968,

Baptist civil-rights leader in the US

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Many other documents have since been developed to provide more specific details about human rights; however, they are all based on the fundamental human rights principles laid out in the UDHR. The full text of the UDHR can be found in Annex 1, p. 244. Below is the official abbreviated version of the UDHR, which lists the key concept of each article in the Declaration.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
(Official Abbreviated Version)

Article 1     Right to Equality
Article 2     Freedom from Discrimination
Article 3     Right to Life, Liberty, and Personal Security
Article 4     Freedom from Slavery
Article 5     Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
Article 6     Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law
Article 7     Right to Equality before the Law
Article 8     Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
Article 9     Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
Article 10     Right to Fair Public Hearing
Article 11     Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty
Article 12     Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, and
Article 13     Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
Article 14     Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution
Article 15     Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
Article 16     Right to Marriage and Family
Article 17     Right to Own Property
Article 18     Freedom of Belief and Religion
Article 19     Freedom of Opinion and Information
Article 20     Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Article 21     Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
Article 22     Right to Social Security
Article 23     Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
Article 24     Right to Rest and Leisure
Article 25     Right to Adequate Living Standard
Article 26     Right to Education
Article 27     Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Article 28     Right to a Social Order that Articulates this Document
Article 29     Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
Article 30     Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved a fundamentally new concept of state sovereignty, declaring that states not only have certain rights, but also a responsibility to protect their own citizens.

"Emergency does not create power.

Emergency does not increase granted power or remove or diminish the restrictions imposed upon power granted or reserved.

The Constitution was adopted in a period of grave emergency.

Its grants of power to the federal government and its limitations of the power of the States were determined in the light of emergency, and they are not altered by emergency."

Justice Charles Evans Hughes

(1862-1948) Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Home Building & Loan Assn v. Blairsdell, 1934

International Human Rights Conventions

International Human Rights Conventions

A convention (also known as a treaty) is a written agreement between States. It is typically drafted by a working group appointed by the UN General Assembly. Once the convention is drafted, it goes to the UN General Assembly for adoption. The next step is for countries to sign and ratify it. By signing a convention, a country is making a commitment to follow the principles in the convention and to begin the ratification process, but the convention is not legally binding on a country until it is ratified. Ratification is a process that takes place in each country, whereby the legislative body of the government takes the necessary steps to officially accept the convention as part of its national legal structure. Once a country signs and ratifies a convention, it becomes a State Party to that convention, meaning it has a legal obligation to uphold the rights the convention defines. Each convention must be ratified by a particular number of countries before it enters into force and becomes part of international law.

In the last sixty years, several human rights conventions have been developed that elaborate on the human rights contained in the UDHR. Nine of these instruments are considered "core" human rights conventions: they cover a major human rights issue and have a treaty-monitoring body that assesses and enforces how a State meets it obligations to that treaty.

Two of these conventions are called covenants and address broad human rights issues:

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, adopted 1966, entered into force 1976).1
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, adopted 1966, entered into force 1976). 

The two Covenants and the UDHR combine to create a trio of documents known as the International Bill of Rights.

An additional seven UN human rights conventions address either thematic issues or particular populations.3


Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)Not Applicable
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)    1976
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)    1976
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)    1965
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination
  Against Women (CEDAW)
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
  Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)    1989
Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers
  and Members of their Families
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from
  Enforced Disappearance
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)    *
*Not yet entered into force as of September 2007

These nine core human rights conventions form an interdependent human rights framework.
It is useful to be familiar with them and to know which of these Conventions your country has
ratified and is therefore legally obligated to enforce and implement.


Regional Human Rights Conventions

In addition to the UN human rights framework, which applies globally, some regional institutions have developed human rights instruments specifically for the countries in their region. These include -

  • The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, developed by the Organization of African Unity, 1986.4
  • The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, developed by the Council of Europe, 1953.5
  • The Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, developed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1978.6

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."

John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1917-1963, 35th president of the United States

"There can be no assumption that today’s majority is “right” and the Amish or others like them are “wrong.”  A way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no right or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is different."

-- Justice Warren E. Burger

Chief Justice, U. S. Supreme Court

Source: Wisconsin v. Yoder, 15 May 1972

Respecting, Protecting, and Fulfilling Human Rights

Respect: The obligation to "respect" human rights means that States must not interfere with the exercise and enjoyment of the rights of people with disabilities.
They must refrain from any action that violates human rights. They must also eliminate laws, policies, and practices that are contrary to human rights.

Protect: The obligation to "protect" human rights means that the State is required to protect everyone, including people with disabilities, against abuses by non-State actors, such as individuals, businesses, institutions, or other private organizations.

Fulfill: The obligation to "fulfill" human rights means that States must take positive action to ensure that everyone, including people with disabilities can exercise their human rights. They must adopt laws and policies that promote human rights. They must develop programs and take other measures to implement these rights. They must allocate the necessary resources to enforce laws and fund programmatic

"Everything of value is defenseless."

Lucebert 1924-1994, Dutch poet and painter

Advocacy and Action


Advocacy is action to create positive change. It usually involves many people and/or organizations working together toward a shared vision for change.

The best advocates for disability rights are self-advocates, people with disabilities themselves. It takes the active and collaborative efforts of persons with disabilities and their allies to ensure that their human rights are respected and to effectively create social change.

         ESSENTIALS OF ADVOCACY          

Awareness of Rights

Awareness of Self



All people should be aware of their rights and liberties! The first two parts of this manual are intended to make you aware of the human rights that persons with disabilities are entitled to under international law, as affirmed by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Persons with disabilities and their allies need to be able to analyze and navigate the social and political environment within which they live from this human rights perspective. Such awareness increases consciousness and mobilizes people to take action, to advocate against discrimination, and to fight for the rights to which they are entitled.


Self-knowledge and effective communication are key to becoming strong self-advocates. Persons with disabilities need to know their own strengths and needs, and have the ability to effectively communicate those needs when advocating for their rights. Like any skill, advocacy must be practiced and, as a result, it improves with time. Practice explaining what you need in order to access your community and enjoy your rights.


Awareness does not create change. ACTION does!

You now have the knowledge and are building the skills to advocate successfully for your rights. Commitment is essential to taking action. Start with small attainable steps. Participation in disability organizations can help. It can provide an important environment to practice advocacy skills and promote a sense of belonging, identity, and connection to others who share similar life experiences.

Advocacy can be used for many purposes: for personal needs, for the needs of others with disabilities, or for the needs of the disability community as a whole. Advocacy can take place at many levels too: locally, nationally, and internationally. Examples of advocacy actions include:

Educational Action

  • Educating ourselves: gathering the information we need to understand the issue and analyzing what we have learned;
  • Educating others: drawing the attention of allies and the general public to an issue that needs to be addressed and showing how we want to create change;
  • Changing attitudes: addressing stereotypes and misconceptions about a particular issue and about people with disabilities generally.

Political Action

  • Addressing policy-makers: influencing them to consult with and include the concerns of people with disabilities when making public policies;
  • Addressing law-makers: lobbying for supports and fulfillment of the human rights of people with disabilities;
  • Addressing public officials: pressuring for enforcement of laws and policies that respect and protect the human rights of people with disabilities;
  • Social and community service providers: effectively communicating for service delivery. For example: navigating the service delivery system through communication with bankers, grocers, social workers, and/or medical professionals.

Legal Action

  • Creating new law: participating in advocacy for new laws on disability rights and taking part in the drafting of such laws. For example: advocating for comprehensive disability rights legislation consistent with international law, including the CRPD.
  • Repealing negative law: taking action to repeal laws that stand in the way of the enjoyment of disability rights. For example: advocating to repeal discriminatory marriage laws that bar people with disabilities from exercising their right to marry.
  • Working to implement disability rights law: For example: Taking action to highlight non-compliance with accessibility standards in new building construction, or training employers on how to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.

Advocacy benefits from the collective action of individuals and groups working together to achieve a shared goal. Wise advocates recognize that creating lasting change takes time, especially when old attitudes and habits must be overcome. They plan and commit themselves to a sustainable, long-term effort, but they also set short-term goals and benchmarks.

Celebrate your achievements together and take care to nurture your shared vision and working relationships.


Working collaboratively, people can create action plans that take advantage of the skills and resources each partner, whether it be another individual or an organization, has to contribute. Partners also regularly evaluate their plan in light of successes and failures, as well as unfolding events and opportunities.

Action planning can be simple, just remember the "WH questions":

  • What? For example: What type of issue is the group addressing? What type of actions are necessary?
  • Who? For example: Who will take action?
  • When? For example: When will the action be complete?
  • Where?
  • Why and/or how? For example: How will you obtain the financial, material, and/or human resources that may be needed to take action?

Asking these questions will make sure that everybody understands what is going to happen next. The next step in action planning is making sure that the plan is feasible and reasonable. Once you complete the action, it is important to follow-up with additional questions:

  • When was the action taken?
  • What happened as a result of the action?
  • What are your next steps?

"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Matthew 16:26

Tactics and Strategy to Achieve Human Rights

What relationships need to be affected to move your issue and strategy forward?

What tactics are currently at play or available?

How do these tactics affect the context, organizations, key relationships, etc., you want to target?

What key institutions, social groups or relationships are unaffected by current tactics?

What tactics might be used to engage the areas currently unaffected?

Can potential allies be identified for building a more comprehensive and effective strategy?

Human Rights Yes!

For more information, please contact the Human Rights Resource Center:

N-120 Mondale Hall
229 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 626-0041
(888) HREDUC8 (888-473-3828)

Responsibilities of Nation States

The duty to respect your rights means that the State may not deny or interfere with your human rights.
The duty to protect your rights means that the State must take steps to make sure that third parties do
not interfere with your rights.

The duty to fulfill your rights means that the State must take concrete steps to recognize your human rights and to make sure that you can enjoy them from day to day. It might do this by, for example, adopting policies, passing laws or allocating funding

In short, this means that international human rights law places both negative (to stop doing or not do
something) and positive (to do something) obligations on States. As individuals, we are entitled to our human rights.

US Compliance with International Treaties (Shadow Reporting)

International human rights treaties obligate governments to report periodically on compliance with the articles in the treaties. Until 2006, the U.S. was seriously overdue in submitting its periodic reports on compliance with the human rights treaties it has ratified. Government reports often focus on legislation passed rather than on implementation of those laws. Nongovernmental organizations can play an important role by providing the treaty body committee members with information and examples of problems with implementation and areas of government non-compliance. These reports are often called “shadow reports” because they correspond with the government’s report.  

The Charter of The United Nations

WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm With in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom....

Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

  1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members....
  2. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
  3. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Chapter Vl: Pacific Settlement of Disputes

Article 33

  1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
  2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their disputes by such means.

Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950

No. 82

Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal. Adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations, 1950.  

Introductory note: Under General Assembly Resolution 177 (II), paragraph (a), the International Law Commission was directed to "formulate the principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the judgment of the Tribunal." In the course of the consideration of this subject, the question arose as to whether or not the Commission should ascertain to what extent the principles contained in the Charter and judgment constituted principles of international law. The conclusion was that since the Nuremberg Principles had been affirmed by the General Assembly, the task entrusted to the Commission was not to express any appreciation of these principles as principles of international law but merely to formulate them. The text below was adopted by the Commission at its second session. The Report of the Commission also contains commentaries on the principles (see Yearbook of the Intemational Law Commission, 1950, Vol. II, pp. 374-378).

Authentic text: English Text published in Report of the International Law Commission Covering its Second Session, 5 June-29 Duly 1950, Document A/1316, pp. 11-14.


Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II

The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III

The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V

Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:

  1. Crimes against peace:
    1. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    2. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
  2. War crimes:
    Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
  3. Crimes against humanity:
    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law. 

UN Principles of Mental Health Care

International human rights standards also feature in other non-binding soft law documents, such as the Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care (MI Principles), which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1991.

Torture is prohibited under US law

The act of torture and other abuses violate various provisions of US federal law, including the Crimes and Criminal Procedure Statute, Chapter 18 of the US Code (U.S.C.), which prohibits: torture (section 2340A(a)); assault (section 113); sexual abuse (sections 2241-2246); kidnapping (section 1201); homicide (sections 1111-1112 and section 2332); acts against rights (for example, sections 241-242, prohibiting conspiracies to deprive persons of their legal rights); war crimes (section 2441); conspiracy and solicitation of violent crimes (sections 371 and 373); and conspiracy to commit torture (section 2340A(c)).


The War Crimes Act of 1996 provides criminal punishment for whomever, inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, if either the perpetrator or the victim is a member of the US Armed Forces or a national of the United States. A “war crime” is defined as any “grave breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions or acts that violate Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions. “Grave breaches” include “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment” of prisoners of war and of civilians qualified as “protected persons.” Common Article 3 prohibits murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” The 2006 Military Commissions Act revised the War Crimes Act and limited the definition of war crimes, with retroactive effect. As a result, humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees in US counterterrorism operations following the September 11 attacks can no
longer be charged as war crimes under the statute. However, this does not change liability for murder and torture.

The Anti-Torture Act (18 U.S.C. section 2340A) provides criminal penalties for acts of torture—including attempts to commit torture and conspiracy to commit an act of torture—occurring outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States regardless of the citizenship of the perpetrator or victim.

Read more in the Human Rights Watch Report:

Why did it take so many years to stop the abuse in the White House in Florida?

The Florida School for Boys - Reform School was located on 1500 acres of land in the North Florida woods.  It was alleged that this was a place of unspeakable horrors for the American children imprisoned there. There was chronic physical abuse of children at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys and there are allegations of sexual abuse as well at this high-risk residential commitment facility for boys 13-21 years of age.   The management and affairs of the School have been housed under a multitude of entities during the last 109 years. The School has remained open throughout the years having been known as the Florida State Reform School (1900-1913), the Florida Industrial School for Boys (1914-1957), the Florida School for Boys (1957-1967), and currently operates as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.  Recently the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)  was brought in to investigate 32 unmarked graves located on property surrounding the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. The request was made due to abuse allegations brought forth by individuals known as “The White House Boys Survivors Organization.” The individuals are former students who attended the reformatory school during the late 1950’s through 1960’s and who allege that during their tenure they were subjected to  repeated physical abuse by staff members as a form of discipline.


In the early years, the facility was situated on almost 1,400 acres and periodically housed both male and female students, some as young as six years old. Many of these students were committed to the facility for minor offenses, such as incorrigibility or truancy. “White” and “colored” students were segregated from one another until 1968. The School had two campuses, the South Side or “Number 1” side for the “white” students and the North Side or “Number 2” side for “colored” students.  The horrible abuse of white students at the school was terrible but what happened to the "colored" students was even beyond that  Few of the "colored" students would ever be able to recount publicly what happened to them in that place of detention.


Former students were encouraged through several newspapers, websites (Justice4Kids,, and by word of mouth (of those already interviewed) to contact FDLE with their accounts. The interviews revealed little disagreement about  the way in which corporal punishment was administered. The former students were consistent in that punishment was administered by school administrators and adult staff witnesses in the building referred to as the White House. The former students were consistent in stating that a wooden paddle or leather strap was the implement used for administering punishment.  Some students said that the leather strap used for spankings contained a thin strip of metal or a coin at its tip to add to its weight.

Roger Kiser who was a student from June 1959-March 1960 stated that he was sent to the White House on five separate occasions.  Students described spankings or “beatings” at the White House where they were told to lie face down on a cot and grasp the head rail with their hands. They were told that if they released their grip, the spankings would start over from the beginning. Some students stated that if they squirmed or fought back, boys from the neighboring kitchen would be called in to assist in holding them down by their legs and/or arms. Some students also claimed that during their spankings the strap would sometimes miss their buttocks and the strike would land on their lower back and/or upper thighs.  The former students stated that the person/s most often responsible for administering their punishment was Robert Hatton,   Maurice Crockett, Arthur Dozier, and Troy Tidwell. 

Some former students alleged that they were sexually abused by fellow students and staff members.  It was also reported in the media and on former students’ websites that a student was killed after having been placed in an industrial-sized dryer. There were two former students interviewed who claimed to have direct knowledge of a death in the laundry.

There were graves of more than 30 unidentified bodies some of which were beaten to death at the old Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna.  It is also suspected that there are many more bodies to be found in the fields and swamplands surrounding the institution.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did an investigation into the unmarked graves and interviewed the many grown men who had seen the abuses there.  Finally the White House where the abuse took place was closed on Oct. 21, 2008.




Interview With Residential School Survivor

Canadian Holocaust

50,000 children died in residential schools through Canada between 1800-1900s at the hands of Catholic, Anglican, and united officials with the help and aid of the Canadian government. Germ warfare was used upon the first nations children in an attempt to destroy a nation.


Canada's Indian Residential School system was responsible for the loss of culture and self-identity for hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal children. Recently, the government has made an apology to former students and the First Nations, in general, for the policy that was the root cause of many of the problems in aboriginal communities and with individuals, today.

In 1920 Federal legislation makes it mandatory for every Indian child to be sent to residential schools upon reaching seven years of age.

1928: Sexual Sterilization Act is passed in Alberta, allowing any inmate of a native residential school to be sterilized upon the approval of the school Principal. At least 3,500 Indian women are sterilized under this law.

1933: An identical Sexual Sterilization Act is passed in British Columbia. Two major sterilization centres are established by The United Church of Canada on the west coast, in Bella Bella and Nanaimo, in which thousands of native men and women are sterilized by missionary doctors until the 1980’s.

1933: Residential school Principals are made the legal guardians of all native students, under the oversight of the federal Department of Mines and Resources. Every native parent is forced by law to surrender legal custody of their children to the Principal - a church employee - or face imprisonment.

1938: Attempt by the federal government to close all residential schools and incorporate Indian children into public schools is defeated by pressure brought by Catholic and Protestant church leaders.

1946: Project Paperclip - a CIA program utilizing ex-Nazi researchers in medical, biological warfare and mind control experiments - uses native children from Canadian residential schools as involuntary test subjects, under agreements with the Catholic, Anglican and United churches. These illegal tests continue until the 1970’s.

1948 - 1969: Offshoot programs of Project Paperclip are established in United Church and government hospitals in Nanaimo, Brannen Lake, Sardis, Bella Bella, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia; in Red Deer and Ponoka, Alberta; and at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in Thunder Bay, Ontario. All of these programs use native children abducted from reserves, foster homes, and residential schools, with the full knowledge of church, police and Indian Affairs officials.

There have been legal cases - both individual as well as class-action which have presented allegations of abuse against individuals for physical, mental and sexual abuse perpetrated by staff at these schools.

Finally in August 2000 a Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada was formed by 48 native and non-native activists with Kevin Annett as its Secretary.  It's goal was to bring charges of Genocide against churches, the RCMP and the government of Canada.  In 2001 The Truth Commission published its six year study of Genocide in Canad "Hidden from History:The Canadian Holocaust."

Churches try to deny the claims of the residential school survivors and try to deny any direct responsibility for damages.  But new eyewitnesses came forward with first-hand evidence that native children were being used in a west coast pedophile ring.  In December 2001 the Roman Catholic Church disclosed that it hired a known convicted sex offender and murder, Martin Saxey to work as a dormitory supervisor at its Christie Indian Residential School in Tofino int the 1960's.   Saxey had raped and terrorized children for years at the school without ever being reprimanded or prosecuted.  

After many years of silence a television documentary chronicled the abuse at the Canadian Indian Residential Schools.  In December 2002 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva confirms that they will be sending an official investigator to Canada to examine evidence of crimes against humanity committed against native peoples and complicity in Genocide.

On April 20, 2007, Canada and those churches involved suffered a fundamental moral defeat in Parliament, when the first cabinet minister in Canadian history publicly acknowledged that untold thousands of children had died in Christian Indian residential schools.

The government has instituted dispute resolution processes to deal with cases of abuse, as a method of achieving healing.

In Canada, over the last decade, over 5,210 victims filed claims of physical and sexual abuse, cultural eradication, sterilizations, and genocide, involving over 72 residential institutions. Many children also died due to the severe negligence and physical abuse they received at the hands of their caregivers.

The Common Experience Payment (CEP) is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The CEP recognizes the experience of residing at an Indian Residential School and its impacts.  The Common Experience Payment, a landmark agreement involving the federal and provincial governments, the courts, First Nations groups, the communities and individuals to compensate every former Residential School Student in Canada for each year they spent in Residential School is well under way. It marked an historic point in Canadian history, a turning point in the treatment and recognition of Aboriginal people across Canada.

In the next several years, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will begin hearings to bring about healing to those people who lost loved ones to the system, who were damaged physically and emotionally by their removal to Residential School, and to bring together the Native peoples and the rest of Canada.

April 27, 2002 - The first television documentary featuring eyewitnesses to murders in Canadian Indian Residential Schools is broadcast in Vancouver, on CTV's "First Story" program.


Additional Information Available:

The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada
260 Kennedy St.
, B.C. Canada V9R 2H8
250-753-3345 or 1-888-265-1007
email: OR


Witness to murder at Indian Residential School

Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust website:

Canadian Holocaust

Laearn More: Voices of the Canadian Holocaust


Witness to Murder - Harriett Nahanee , Pacheedaht Nation of Vancouver Island, survivor of the United Church's Alberni Residential School, Port Alberni, BC. Witness to the murder of 14-year old Maisie Shaw by Reverend Alfred Caldwell.  Listen

Witness to Torture - Virginia Baptiste, Osoyoos Nation of Oliver Island, survivor of the Catholic Residential School in Cranbrook, BC.  Listen 

Experimented On - Douglas Wilson, Haida Nation, survivor of United Church's Edmonton Residential School and of electro-shock experiments.  Listen

Sterilized - Sarah Modeste, Cowichan Nation, involuntarily sterilized by the Dr. James Goodbrand in Duncan, BC.  Listen

Sister Murdered - Bill Seward, survivor of Kuper Island Catholic Residential School near Duncan, BC. His sister Maggie was pushed out of a window and killed by a nun.  Listen

Experimented On - Dennis Charlie, survivor of Catholic School on Kuper Island, BC. Survivor of medical experiments and witress to the death of student Sandy Mitchell, who was used as a human guinnea-pig in drug testing experiments. Listen

Lakota Woman Speaks about Indian Boarding School Abuse

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network


P.O. 42700 

Washington, DC 20015

MedicalWhistleblowers (at)


"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910