Thursday, September 18, 2008

Psychologists pass ban on aiding in torture

Psychologists pass ban on aiding in torture


Members of the nation's premier psychologists' association will be banned from participating in interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and other military sites where international laws against torture are being violated.

The vote by the American Psychological Association means its members can work at such sites only for humanitarian purposes or with non-governmental groups.

Here's the APA's announcement.

"This is a repudiation by the membership of a policy that has been doggedly pursued by APA leadership for year after year," Stephen Soldz, a Boston psychologist and founder of an ethics coalition that lobbied for the ban, told the Associated Press today. "The membership has now spoken and it's now incumbent upon APA to immediately implement this."

The new policy will not take effect until the APA's next annual meeting in August 2009. But its council likely will discuss whether to act sooner, a spokeswoman said.

USA TODAY's Sharon Jayson covered a pro-ban rally outside the APA's weekend meeting in Boston .

The resolution states:

Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.

Here's the full text.

Next Thursday the Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on allegations that psychologists contributed to torture by “reverse-engineering” a training program designed to help U.S. soldiers survive capture and torture by enemy forces.

Posted by Michael Winter at 06:20 PM/ET, September 18, 2008 in Health/Science, Iraq , Terrorism | Permalink

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