REPORTS that the US government injected hundreds of deported foreigners with dangerous psychotropic drugs are shocking, to say the least. In a damning revelation, The Washington Post has established — through medical records, official documents and interviews with people who were drugged against their will — that at least 250 people of various nationalities were subjected to such cruel chemical treatment since 2003. This is a brazen violation of international human rights laws as well as US domestic laws. It is not a coincidence that the drugging of people shipped out grew to such frightening proportions after the Department of Homeland Security’s new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency assumed charge of deportation in 2003.
The paper said that the drugs — which are meant to treat serious mental disorders — were administered forcibly with terrible effects on the victims. Often, the victims who were subjected to such illegal chemical treatment by the authorities had to be dragged to the aircraft in a comatose condition. The so-called tranquilisation of deportees appears to have been carried out more as a rule than as an exception. US laws provide for “involuntary chemical restraint” or sedation of deportees only if there is medical justification, such as serious psychiatric disorder or mental illness. In the 250 cases identified by the newspaper, the government routinely ignored its own rules which specify the conditions under which drugs may be required.
This is one more transgression to be added to the growing catalogue of gross violations of human rights by the US administration in the aftermath of 9/11. Thanks to the vigilance of activists and sections of the media in the US, the brutalities are brought to light sooner or later. Such exposures need to be followed up by the home governments of the deportees through legal action for justice and reparation, and punishment of the guilty officials.