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Oaths against participating in torture and executions


The Department of Psychology of Earlham College
Resolution Regarding Participation by Psychologists in Interrogations in
Military Detention Centers

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

2. that the American Psychological Association should prohibit the participation of psychologists, directly or indirectly, in interrogations in these facilities.
http://www.earlham.edu/publicaffairs/content/pressroom/archive/2007/october/psychdeptresolution.php

 

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

Article 1

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.
2. Torture constitutes an aggravated and deliberate form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 2

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 .
Article 3

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.
Article 4

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.
Article 5

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.
Article 6

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 punishment.
Article 7

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.
Article 8

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 concerned.
Article 9

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
If an investigation under article 8 or article 9 establishes that an act of torture as defined in article 1 appears to have been committed, criminal proceedings shall be instituted against the alleged offender or offenders in accordance with national law. If an allegation of other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is considered to be well founded, the alleged offender or offenders shall be subject to criminal, disciplinary or other appropriate proceedings.

Article 11

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.
Article 12

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.

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/h_comp38.htm

 

Statements of U.S. Health Professional Associations on Participation in Executions
  • American Medical Association: A physician, as a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a legally authorized execution.
  • American Nurses Association: The American Nurses Association (ANA) is strongly opposed to nurse participation in capital punishment. Participation in executions is viewed as contrary to the fundamental goals and ethical traditions of the profession. (Summary, login required to view full statement)
  • American College of Physicians: Participation by physicians in the execution of prisoners except to certify death is unethical.
  • American Public Health Association: The APHA publicly reaffirm its March 1994 collaborative statement to all health professional societies and state licensing and discipline boards that health professional participation in executions or pre-execution procedures is a serious violation of ethical codes and should be grounds for active disciplinary proceedings including expulsion from society membership and license revocation.
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians: The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is strongly opposed to participation in capital punishment by an EMT, Paramedic or other emergency medical professional. Participation in executions is viewed as contrary to the fundamental goals and ethical obligations of emergency medical services.
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists: Although lethal injection mimics certain technical aspects of the practice of anesthesia, capital punishment in any form is not the practice of medicine ... ASA continues to agree with the position of the American Medical Association on physician involvement in capital punishment. ASA strongly discourages participation by anesthesiologists in executions. (emphasis in original)
  • Society of Correctional Physicians: The correctional health professional shall ... Not be involved in any aspect of execution of the death penalty.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/Death_Penalty/Lethal_Injection/page.do?id=1101012&n1=3&n2=28&n3=1409

 

NAEMT Position Statement on EMT and Paramedic Participation in Capital Punishment

Adopted June 9, 2006

Statement
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is strongly opposed to participation in capital punishment by an EMT, Paramedic or other emergency medical professional. Participation in executions is viewed as contrary to the fundamental goals and ethical obligations of emergency medical services.

Background
Health care professionals, including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, EMTs and paramedics, continue to be called upon to participate in capital punishment, particularly lethal injection executions. According to the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, thirty-eight states and the federal government had capital statutes in 2005. In 2006, in California, two anesthesiologists refused to monitor the administering of a barbiturate designed to render unconscious a convicted murderer before he was to be killed with two other drugs after a federal district judge ordered, for the first time, that licensed medical personnel administer a sedative before an execution. The execution was postponed and has prompted renewed discussions and debate about medical professionals participating in executions.

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.
http://www.naemt.org/aboutNAEMT/capitalpunishment.htm

 

MOVEON.ORG'S DECLARATION AGAINST TORTURE

Whereas torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

  • are contrary to the fundamental moral values on which the United States was founded,
    violate United States and international law,
  • increase the risk to U.S. citizens serving abroad, and as Secretary of State Colin Powell warned "undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops,"
  • weaken national security by inciting anti-American hatred, fanning the flames of terrorist recruitment, and providing comfort to enemies of the United States,
  • compromise the global fight against terrorism, by making foreign governments more reluctant to turn over suspected terrorists to the U. S.,
  • are "useless as interrogation techniques," according to the U.S. Army Field Manual.

We therefore unequivocally declare that the U.S. must:

  • respect and enforce, across all agencies, and among all employees and contract agents of the U.S. government, all obligations under the laws of war and duly ratified treaties that prohibit cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
  • state directly and forthrightly that torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are always unacceptable and that anyone who engages in such behavior or knowingly condones it will be punished;
  • apply to all detainees of the United States the legal definitions of torture contained in the 1949 Geneva Conventions, as incorporated in the U.S. Law of Land Warfare, banning "any ... form of coercion" or "unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment" to get information from prisoners of war; and in the international Convention Against Torture (1984), to which the U.S. is party, prohibiting "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining ... information;"
  • repudiate all claims of presidential power that allow for the use of torture, or for imprisonment without due process,
  • halt the practice of "extraordinary rendition," by which some detainees and prisoners are transferred to nations that employ torture.

http://civic.moveon.org/gonzales//

 

 

 

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