Human Rights Violations and the Health Professions: Caught Between Conscience and Complicity

Dies ist der erste Artikel unser­er Inter­net­zeitung aus dem Jahr 1995, eine Arbeit von Torsten Lucas und Chris­t­ian Pross über die Mitar­beit von Heil­beru­flern in Men­schen­rechtsver­brechen auf Englisch.

Den Artikel kön­nen Sie hier als .pdf herunterladen:

1995 human_rights and health pro­fes­sions lucas pross



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.



Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror

Das Inter­view zu der Beteil­i­tung von Heil­beru­flern in der Folter im Rah­men des Kriegs gegen des Ter­rors u.a. in Guan­tanamo mit Steven Miles kön­nen Sie HIER sehen. Auf der Seite find­en Sie auch das voll­ständi­ge Tran­skript des Themas. 

After 9/11, the U.S. mil­i­tary began using physi­cians, psy­chol­o­gists and oth­er med­ical per­son­nel to assist in the inter­ro­ga­tions of pris­on­ers at Guan­tanamo Bay and else­where. We take a look at the role of doc­tors and inter­ro­ga­tion with Dr. Steven Miles, an expert in med­ical ethics and author of the new book, “Oath Betrayed: Tor­ture, Med­ical Com­plic­i­ty, and the War on Ter­ror.” [includes rush transcript]

While the issue of mil­i­tary tri­bunals and the legal sta­tus of pris­on­ers at Guan­tanamo Bay remains in the media spot­light, anoth­er aspect of the US prison camp is large­ly being left out of the dis­cus­sion in the cor­po­rate media–the abuse of pris­on­ers at Guan­tanamo and the active par­tic­i­pa­tion of doc­tors in torture.

After 9/11, the Pen­ta­gon began using so-called behav­ioral sci­ence con­sul­tants, or “bis­cuit” teams to help inter­roga­tors obtain infor­ma­tion from pris­on­ers at Guan­tanamo Bay and else­where. These med­ical teams report­ed­ly advised the mil­i­tary on how to “break” detainees to make them more cooperative.

  • Dr. Steven Miles, author of “Oath Betrayed: Tor­ture, Med­ical Com­plic­i­ty, and the War on Ter­ror.” He is a pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Med­ical School and a fac­ul­ty mem­ber of its Cen­ter for Bioethics. He is also a prac­tic­ing physician.

Kogruppe der Heilberufler der deutschen Sektion von Amnesty International