Policy Related to Psychologists' Work in National Security Settings and Reaffirmation of the APA Position Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Statement 1

According to the 2008 APA Petition Resolution Policy, Psychologists and Unlawful Detention Settings with a Focus on National Security, “psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.”ii

APA recognizes that torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can result from conditions of confinement and the behavior of individuals. Psychologists are prohibited from working in unlawful detention settings as defined in Statement 1 (see Footnote ii), except when working directly for the persons being detained, for an independent third party working to protect human rights or when providing psychological services to military personnel working at the site(s).

APA further recognizes that some settings, which do not constitute unlawful detention settings as defined in Statement 1, nonetheless have conditions of confinement that constitute torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. APA expresses grave concern over such settings in which detainees are deprived of adequate protection of their human rights, affirms the prerogative of psychologists to refuse to work in such settings, and will continue to explore ways to support psychologists who refuse to work in such settings or who refuse to obey orders that constitute torture.