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APA Letter To Bush: New Policy Limits Psychologist Involvement In Interrogations

Date:
October 2, 2008
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
The American Psychological Association sent a letter October 2 to President Bush, informing him of a significant change in the association's policy that limits the roles of psychologists in certain unlawful detention settings where the human rights of detainees are violated, such as has occurred at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at so-called CIA black sites around the world.

The American Psychological Association sent a letter today to President Bush, informing him of a significant change in the association's policy that limits the roles of psychologists in certain unlawful detention settings where the human rights of detainees are violated, such as has occurred at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at so-called CIA black sites around the world.

"The effect of this new policy is to prohibit psychologists from any involvement in interrogations or any other operational procedures at detention sites that are in violation of the U.S. Constitution or international law (e.g., the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture)," says the letter, from APA President Alan E. Kazdin, PhD. "In such unlawful detention settings, persons are deprived of basic human rights and legal protections, including the right to independent judicial review of their detention."

The roles of psychologists at such sites would now be limited to working directly for the people being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights, or to providing treatment to military personnel. The new policy was voted on by APA members and is in the process of being implemented.

For the past 20 years, APA policy has unequivocally condemned torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which can arise from interrogation procedures or conditions of confinement. APA's previous policies had expressed grave concerns about settings where people are deprived of human rights and had offered support to psychologists who refused to work in such settings.

Noting that there have been credible reports of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees during Bush's presidency, APA called on the administration to investigate these alleged abuses. "We further call on you to establish policies and procedures to ensure the independent judicial review of these detentions and to afford the persons being detained all rights guaranteed to them under the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture," Kazdin wrote.

A copy of the full letter may be viewed at: http://www.apa.org/releases/kazdin-to-bush1008.pdf


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "APA Letter To Bush: New Policy Limits Psychologist Involvement In Interrogations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172251.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2008, October 2). APA Letter To Bush: New Policy Limits Psychologist Involvement In Interrogations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172251.htm
American Psychological Association. "APA Letter To Bush: New Policy Limits Psychologist Involvement In Interrogations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172251.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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