PHR Salutes APA's Ban on Psychologists at Illegal US Interrogations

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)

Jonathan Hutson
jhutson [at] phrusa [dot] org
Tel: (617) 301-4210 Cell: (857) 919-5130

PHR Salutes APA's Ban on Psychologists at Illegal US Interrogations

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - "APA's announcement today is a historic victory for medical ethics
and human rights," said Physicians for Human Rights CEO Frank Donaghue.
"PHR salutes the APA for telling President Bush that psychologists can
no longer serve at illegal US facilities that violate the Constitution
and international human rights standards. This dramatic policy reversal
represents a massive transformation by an organization that has until
now encouraged members to assist interrogations of detainees at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and CIA black sites overseas."  

Association's policy reversal was driven by a first-of-its-kind
referendum, pushed by a reform movement among its members, with PHR's
active support. PHR has been campaigning since 2005 for the APA to end
psychologists' participation in U.S. national security interrogations.
Government and press reports have confirmed that military and
intelligence psychologists were central to the design, implementation,
and supervision of the Bush administration's regime of psychological
and physical torture.  

"The Pentagon and the CIA must now abide
by the APA's new policy and immediately cease employing psychologists
as part of detainee interrogations," stated Donaghue. "The Bush
Administration's interrogation policies have inflicted grievous damage
to the core principles of medical ethics and the rule of law. The APA's
statement today is a watershed moment in the fight to stop
psychologists from being used to cause harm and return them to their
appropriate role as healers."  

The Department of Defense is
expected this month to review the operational guidance for BSCTs
(Behavioral Science Consultation Teams), which use mental health
professionals in detainee interrogations-an application which violates
international standards of health professional ethics. PHR has led the
public and behind-the-scenes effort to shut down the BSCT program.  

today is a proud day for the APA and its membership, the APA must now
act to permanently prohibit direct participation by psychologists in
interrogations and to ensure those psychologists who engaged in abuse
and torture are held to account," said Donaghue.  "The APA has taken a
tremendous step forward but  has not yet reached the ethical standards
of the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric
Association, organizations which have banned direct participation by
physicians in all interrogations. Also, the APA has not yet specified
what rights abuses would render a detention facility illegal under its
new policy."



Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes the health professions to advance the health and dignity of all people by protecting human rights. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

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