Psychiatry and Torture

World Psychiatry. 2006 Jun; 5(2): 94–95.
Daryl MatthewsUniversity of Hawaii, Manoa, HI, USA
See also the article "Forensic psychiatry: contemporary scope, challenges and controversies" (vol. 5 -p87)

“I would like to add to Julio Arboleda- Flórez’s excellent discussion of the problem of psychiatric participation in interrogations. There is considerable international support for asking psychiatrists and other physicians not only to decline to participate in torture and related practices, but also to speak out vigorously against its use by governments.

While medical ethics surely disapproves such practices, they are also widely condemned in other quarters. For example, in its aspirational “Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment”, the United Nations General Assembly, after asserting that “no person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment”, adds in a note: “The term ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ should be interpreted so as to extend the widest possible protection against abuses, whether physical or mental, including the holding of a detained or imprisoned person in conditions which deprive him, temporarily or permanently, of the use of any of his natural senses, such as sight or hearing, or of his awareness of place and the passing of time” (1).” [ . . . ]

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