Psychiatry: A human rights perspective

wir möchten auf die offizielle, englischsprachige Veröffentlichgung “psychiatry: a human rights perspective” von Amnesty International aufmerksam machen. Sie können das Dokument hier herunterladen:
Die Veröffentlichung trägt das Zeichen ACT 75/003/1995.
Die englischsprachige Einleitung können Sie hier direkt lesen:
Psychiatrists work to relieve patients of anxiety and suffering caused by mental illness and stressful experiences.
In doing this they are expected, like all doctors, to adhere to principles of medical ethics and to safeguard the rights of their patients. However, psychiatry has the potential to impinge on fundamental individual rights and personal liberty in a way which is distinctively different from other areas of medicine. This is so because (i) it focuses on individual thought and behaviour to a far greater extent than occurs in other clinical disciplines; and (ii) it is an area of medicine in which significantly more powers are granted to medical professionals to deprive individuals of their liberty or over-ride their expressed will on medical grounds.
Amnesty International has had a long-standing interest in certain aspects of the interplay of psychiatry and human rights as they relate to the organization’s own work. This reflects the practical and theoretical linkage between individual rights and what psychiatrists and other mental health professionals do to restrict those rights through legal or extra-legal measures. It also results from other important issues such as the severity of mental suffering caused by human rights violations which leads many of those affected to seek professional psychiatric help, and from the increasing role of psychiatrists in the death penalty.
The purpose of this paper is to set out those concerns of Amnesty International which are of particular relevance to psychiatrists and, indeed, other mental health professionals. It will present a case for a greater involvement of psychiatrists in the protection of human rights through their professional work and through the activities of professional associations.