April 14, 2024

No more violations of human rights, say US psychologists

Call for investigation of doctors and psychologists who participated in torture
a volunteer undergoes waterboarding / Daily Mail The
American Psychological Association has amended
its Code of Ethics
to make clear that its standards can never be
interpreted to justify or defend violating human rights. In 2002 the APA
amended its code to say that if a psychologist was confused or doubtful, he
could follow his employer’s instructions. But this was used as an excuse to
justify psychologists participating in the “enhanced interrogation”
of suspects after 9/11.  A new
sentence has been added: “Under no
circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human
rights.” The change is effective from June 1.

Shortly after the
APA’s announcement, Leonard Rubenstein and Stephen N.
Xenakis – who are both doctors – reminded the world about the psychologists and doctors who did
participate in waterboarding, sleep deprivation,
isolation and stress positions. Shouldn’t they be investigated and disciplined
for violating human rights?

“No agency — not the Pentagon, the C.I.A.,
state licensing boards or professional medical societies — has initiated any
action to investigate, much less discipline, these individuals,” they complained
in a New York Times op-ed. “They have ignored the gross and appalling
violations by medical personnel. This is an unconscionable disservice to the
thousands of ethical doctors and psychologists in the country’s service. It is
not too late to begin investigations. They should start now.” ~ New York Times,
Feb 28
, APA, Feb

Michael Cook