Thu, Dec 14, 2017

Press release: Interrogations NO-GO zone for psychologists

22 Dec 2014

In a response to the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation practices and the alleged involvement of psychologists, the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA) supports the position of the American Psychological Association (APA) that interrogations are a “no-go zone” for psychologists.

Interrogations “No-Go Zone” for Psychologists

In a response to the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation practices and the alleged involvement of psychologists, the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA) supports the position of the American Psychological Association (APA) that interrogations are a “no-go zone” for psychologists. EFPA welcomes the publicity about the report. Although parts of the CIA detention and interrogation program have been exposed before, the report can help to better protect the human rights of detainees and clarify the position of psychology. 

“EFPA unambiguously rejects the involvement of psychologists in practices that qualify as torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and insists in observance of human rights for anyone”, says President Prof. Robert Roe. He stresses that the risk of psychologists being involved in doubtful interrogation practices is not just an American issue, but exists in Europe as well. According to Roe European professional ethics leaves no room for psychologists entering situations in which they could become bystander or participant in abuse. Psychologists who find themselves in ambiguous situations must be vigilant to the possibility of abuse, report it to pertinent legal bodies, and take action to restore legality so that treatment is according to international law. 

According to EFPA, psychologists have a broader responsibility for human rights. Next to psychological care for victims of human rights violations it also includes systematic prevention. Roe: “For instance, psychologists working with security and defense organizations could help maintain a healthy psychological climate, keep roles and responsibilities clear, and eradicate ambiguities that create room for moral corrosion and abuse of detainees”. In 2013 EFPA has installed a Task Force on Human Rights, which works on several other issues. One of them is the role of psychologists in the containment of national extremism, religious fanaticism, xenophobia, racism and the like, in order to prevent these from creating the psychological climate for inhumane treatment of others.

Further information:

EFPA and Human Rights: http://www.efpa.eu/news/december-10-international-human-rights-day 

APA Applauds Release of Senate Intelligence Committee Report Summary: http://apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/12/senate-intelligence.aspx 

Psychologists in interrogations – Doctors of the Dark Side:

The involvement of psychologists in Guantanamo Bay was discussed at the Congress of the Dutch psychologists’ association NIP in December 2013. 

After the documentary ‘Doctors of the Dark Side’ was shown, APA’s Ethical Committee chair Stephen Behnke and EFPA President Robert Roe gave their views on the matter.

Original Interview with APA's Ethical Committee chair Behnke (Dutch): http://www.psynip.nl/website-openbaar-de-psycholoog/psy1402_psychologen-in-de-martelkamer.pdf 

English translation of Behnke's interview here

Comments by EFPA President Roe (English): http://www.psynip.nl/website-openbaar-documenten-intersector/doctors-of-the-dark-side-european-comment.pdf%20

 

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