Psychology and torture: Professional and ethical challenges for clinical psychologists with reference to the United Nations Convention against Torture

Psychology and torture: Professional and ethical challenges for clinical psychologists with reference to the United Nations Convention against Torture

Joar Øveraas Halvorsen & Nora Sveaass

The main aim of the present paper is to make clear why human rights and human rights violations are of relevance for clinical psychologists, with specific reference to the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT). We point to several issues pertaining to the relevance of UNCAT for clinical psychologists, e.g. the prohibition against torture, documentation of psychological sequelae of torture, psychosocial rehabilitation of torture survivors and the participation of clinical psychologists in monitoring bodies. We argue that clinical psychologists are in a unique position to ensure that rights are secured and that the obligations set forth by UNCAT are fullfilled. However, in order to do so, psychologists need to engage actively in issues and processes related to human rights in addition to their traditional roles.

Key words: United Nations Convention against Torture; human rights; torture; clinical psychology

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