Letters Human rights abuses

We UK doctors need to put our own houses in order

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3830 (Published 19 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3830
  1. Frank W Arnold, doctor1
  1. 1Reading RG6 1QB, UK
  1. arnold_frank{at}hotmail.com

Torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment—the intentional infliction of pain or suffering by a public official—are crimes in international and UK law. Doctors are prohibited from colluding or participating in such abuses, as Guterman and McKee rightly remind us.1 But medical duties are more extensive than this. According to the World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo, “the absence of documenting and denouncing acts of torture may be considered as a form of tolerance thereof and of non-assistance to the victims.”2

If we as doctors cannot prevent torture, we have a duty to …

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