At the 2007 APS AGM, an APS declaration on torture was passed declaring the Society’s unequivocal condemnation of the use of torture or other inhumane or degrading procedures in all situations.
This resolution was developed in the context of the debate surrounding the APA’s policies on the involvement of psychologists in military and CIA interrogation techniques.
The APS Board of Directors passed the following resolution on 24 September 2007:
The Australian Psychological Society, as a member of the International Union of Psychological Science, fully endorses the United Nations Declaration and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1997.
The Australian Psychological Society regards all forms of torture, as defined in Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1997, as breaches of the Society’s Code of Ethics (2003) General Principle III Propriety.
Psychologists shall at all times comply with the Society’s Code of Ethics.
Psychologists shall not countenance, condone or participate in the practice of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading procedures, in any situation, including armed conflict and civil strife.
Psychologists shall not provide any premises, instruments, substances or knowledge to facilitate the practice of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or to diminish the ability of the victim to resist such treatment.
Psychologists shall not be present during any procedure in which torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is used or threatened.
Psychologists must have complete professional independence in deciding upon the care of a person for whom they are responsible.
For further information providing a context to the APS resolution, and summary of the controversy surrounding the APA’s policies and positions on torture and treatment of detainees, go to: www.groups.psychology.org.au/pfp/resources/torture/