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IASP Declaration on Torture



The 2024 Global Year will examine what is known about sex and gender differences in pain perception and modulation and address sex-and gender-related disparities in both the research and treatment of pain.

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The official journal of IASP features original research on the nature, mechanisms and treatment of pain.

In 2009, the IASP Special Interest Group on Pain Related to Torture, Organized Violence, and War presented a resolution condemning torture in any form by IASP members. From the background piece:

“Our aim is that IASP endorse a clear policy, without exceptions (consistent with the UN Convention on Human Rights and many of our professional associations), condemning the use of torture or inhumane treatment, and with a commitment to remove from membership anyone who engages in these practices or promotes them.”

SIG on Pain Related to Torture, Organized Violence, and War
Kirstine Amris, chair; Amanda C de C Williams, past chair

After many discussions and revisions, the IASP Council endorsed the following statement:


The mission of the International Association for the Study of Pain is “to stimulate and support the study of pain and to translate that knowledge into improved pain relief worldwide.” Its overall vision is “Working together for pain relief throughout the world.” The most preventable form of human pain is that inflicted in the form of torture and inhumane treatment, whether physical or psychological. The participation by IASP members in acts of torture or inhumane treatment is therefore against the fundamental principles of the Association.

“For the purpose of this Declaration, torture is defined as the deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons acting alone or on the orders of a public authority, to force another person to yield information, to make a confession, or for any other reason.” [World Medical Association. Declaration of Tokyo (1975). Adopted by the World Medical Association, Tokyo, Japan, October 1975.]


IASP proclaims the following:

IASP members shall not participate in any way in the practice of torture whatever the offense of which the individual is suspected, accused or guilty, and whatever the individual’s beliefs or motives.

IASP members shall not knowingly provide any premises, instruments, substances, knowledge or skills to facilitate the practice of torture or to diminish the ability of the individual to resist such treatment.

IASP members shall not be present during any procedure during which torture is used or threatened.

IASP members will support fellow clinicians and researchers and their families in the face of threats or reprisals resulting from a refusal to condone the use of torture or inhumane treatment.

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