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Declaration on the Participation of Psychiatrists in the Death Penalty

(World Psychiatric Association, 1989)

The following declaration was adopted by the General Assembly of' the World Psychiatric Association at its World Congress in Athens in October 1989

  • Psychiatrists are physicians and adhere to the Hippocratic Oath ¬ęto practice for the good of their patients and never to do harm.
  • The World Psychiatric Association is an international association with 77 Member Societies.
  • Considering that the United Nations' Principles of Medical Ethics enjoins physicians - and thus psychiatrists - to refuse to enter into any relationship with a prisoner, other than one directed at evaluation, protecting or improving their physical and mental health, and further, considering that the Declaration of Hawaii of the WPA resolves that the psychiatrist shall serve the best interests of the patient and treat every patient with the solicitude and respect due to the dignity of all human beings and that the psychiatrist must refuse to cooperate if some third party demands ' actions contrary to ethical principles.
  • Conscious that psychiatrists may be called on to participate in any action connected to executions, declares that the participation of psychiatrists in any such action is a violation of professional ethics.

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