Good Ethics = Good Therapy
Oaths against participating in torture and executions
The Department of Psychology of Earlham College
WHEREAS psychologists in the United States, through their major professional organization, the American Psychological Association (APA), have adopted a set of ethical principles that includes the principle of Beneficence and Nonmalfeasance (Principle A), which declares that psychologists should strive, in their work, "to do no harm" and should "seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact" and the principle of Respect for People's Rights and Dignity (Principle E), which declares that psychologists should "respect the dignity and worth of all people" and explicitly recognizes that "special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making"; and
WHEREAS the United States military and Central Intelligence Agency are widely recognized and acknowledged to have incarcerated a number of persons in foreign detention centers without the due process of law ordinarily afforded by international human rights treaties and standards and to have subjected many of these detainees to forms of interrogation banned under international law, including some forms of torture; and
WHEREAS attention has recently been drawn to the fact that psychologists have been involved in the interrogations of incarcerated persons in such detention centers, and in some cases have contributed to the development of extraordinary forms of interrogation including torture; and
WHEREAS the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution on August 19, 2007 that, while condemning torture, continues to allow coercive interrogations so long as these interrogations do not cause "significant pain or suffering" or "lasting harm," and that continues to allow psychologists to participate in interrogations in foreign detention centers in which internationally recognized due process of law is not afforded, and that in continuing to permit these violations of Principles A and E of the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct, serves to legitimize the above mentioned violations of human rights and to undermine the moral authority and stature of psychology as a profession, and that, moreover, fails to recognize that decades of research in social psychology demonstrates that situational factors, especially in highly ideological and isolated settings, can be predicted, over time, to undermine the resolve of well-intentioned individuals, including psychologists, to resist institutional pressures to misuse authority;
The Department of Psychology of Earlham College therefore resolves
1. that the direct or indirect participation by psychologists in interrogations of prisoners incarcerated in foreign detention centers that do not afford prisoners internationally recognized due process of law is unethical; and
the American Psychological Association should prohibit the participation
of psychologists, directly or indirectly, in interrogations in these
Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Adopted by General Assembly resolution 3452 (XXX) of 9 December 1975
1. For the purpose of this Declaration, torture means any act by which
severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally
inflicted by or at the instigation of a public official on a person for
such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or
confession, punishing him for an act he has committed or is suspected
of having committed, or intimidating him or other persons. It does not
include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental
to, lawful sanctions to the extent consistent with the Standard Minimum
Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
Any act of
torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of
the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a violation
of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights .
No State may permit or tolerate torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment. Exceptional circumstances such as a state of
war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public
emergency may not be invoked as a justification of torture or other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Each State shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Declaration,
take effective measures to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment from being practised within its jurisdiction.
The training of law enforcement personnel and of other public officials
who may be responsible for persons deprived of their liberty shall ensure
that full account is taken of the prohibition against torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This prohibition
shall also, where appropriate, be included in such general rules or instructions
as are issued in regard to the duties and functions of anyone who may
be involved in the custody or treatment of such persons.
Each State shall keep under systematic review interrogation methods
and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of
persons deprived of their liberty in its territory, with a view to preventing
any cases of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
Each State shall ensure that all acts of torture as defined in article
1 are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply in regard
to acts which constitute participation in, complicity in, incitement
to or an attempt to commit torture.
Any person who alleges that he has been subjected to torture or other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by or at the instigation
of a public official shall have the right to complain to, and to have
his case impartially examined by, the competent authorities of the State
Wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture
as defined in article 1 has been committed, the competent authorities
of the State concerned shall promptly proceed to an impartial investigation
even if there has been no formal complaint. Article 10
Where it is proved that an act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment has been committed by or at the instigation
of a public official, the victim shall be afforded redress and compensation
in accordance with national law.
Any statement which is established to have been made as a result of
torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
may not be invoked as evidence against the person concerned or against
any other person in any proceedings.
NAEMT Position Statement on EMT and Paramedic Participation in Capital Punishment
Adopted June 9, 2006
Historically, the role of EMTs and paramedics has been to promote, preserve and protect human life. NAEMT’s EMT Oath is based on the basic principles of saving life, respect for human life and the non-infliction of harm to all recipients of emergency medical service care. The EMT Oath is a guide for the EMT and paramedic code of conduct and stipulates that the EMT or paramedic “follow that regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of patients and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.” The obligations to rescue, save and preserve life are part of the essential trust relationship that the EMT and paramedic have with all people in a community and should not be breached even when legally sanctioned.
Participation in capital punishment is inconsistent with the ethical precepts and goals of the EMS profession.
NAEMT strongly opposes to all forms of participation, by whatever means, whether under civil or military legal authority.
EMTs and Paramedics should refrain from participation in capital punishment and not take part in assessment, supervision or monitoring of the procedure or the prisoner; procuring, prescribing or preparing medications or solutions; inserting the intravenous catheter; injecting the lethal solution; and/or attending or witnessing the execution as an EMT or Paramedic.
The fact that capital punishment is currently supported in many segments of society does not override the obligation of EMTs and Paramedics to uphold the ethical mandates of the profession.
NAEMT recognizes that endorsement of the death penalty remains a personal
decision and that individual EMTs and paramedics may have views that
are different from the official position of the profession. Regardless
of the personal opinion of the EMT or paramedic on the appropriateness
of capital punishment, it is a breach of the foundational precepts of
emergency medical services, and a violation of the EMT Oath, to participate
in taking life of any person.
MOVEON.ORG'S DECLARATION AGAINST TORTURE
Whereas torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
We therefore unequivocally declare that the U.S. must:
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