IFHHRO highlights from the campaign Stop Torture in Health Care

IFHHRO highlights from the campaign Stop Torture in Health Care

1) Pain management as a human right

 In April 2011, IFHHRO published a Position statement on Access to Adequate Pain Treatment. This text is the result of several rounds of consultations with medical and nursing organisations worldwide, human rights organisations, and organisations of pain and palliative care specialists. A resolution based on this position statement was endorsed by the British Medical Association (BMA) and submitted to the World Medical Association. At its annual General Assembly in October 2011, the WMA adopted the resolution.

The WMA Resolution on the Access to Adequate Pain Treatment states that people suffering from pain have a right to appropriate pain management, including effective medications such as morphine. Denial of pain treatment violates the right to health and might be medically unethical. Countries should review their drug control policies to ensure they do not unnecessarily restrict the availability and accessibility of controlled medicines for the treatment of pain. Each government should also provide resources for the development and implementation of a national pain treatment plan, including a responsive monitoring mechanism for receiving complaints when pain is inadequately treated.

2) Forced and/or coerced sterilization

In 2011 we published a Position Statement on Forced and/or coerced Sterilisation. In 2012, the British Medical Association submitted a draft resolution based on our position statement to the World Medical Association, which adopted this resolution during its General Assembly in October 2012 in Bangkok.

The WMA Statement on Forced and Coerced Sterilisation firmly states that no person, regardless of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, medical condition or disability, should be subjected to forced or coerced permanent sterilisation, and that instead, a full range of contraceptive services, including sterilisation, should be accessible and affordable to every individual. Informed consent should always be obtained and should be free from any pressure or material incentives. Further, the WMA calls on all national medical associations to advocate against forced and coerced sterilisation in their own countries and globally. With the WMA, IFHHRO issued a joint press statement condemning the practice of forced and coerced sterilisation in 2011.

3) Detention in stead of treatment

In May 2011, IFHHRO and the World Medical Association sent out a news release on the issue of compulsory drug detention. In the same month, we issued our Position Statement on Compulsory Drug Detention Centres.

The document states that the human rights of individuals who use or are addicted to controlled substances (drugs and medications) should always be respected, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health, and freedom from discrimination, arbitrary detention, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. They have a right to equitable access to medical treatment and allied rehabilitation services in accordance with generally approved medical principles.

In March 2012, a joint statement was issued by twelve UN agencies that calls for the closure of compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres. In Asia alone, it is estimated that some 300,000 people are kept in these centres. They are detained without due process in the name of 'treatment' or 'rehabilitation'. States that maintain these centres often present them as necessary to address drug use dependence and sex work. There is however no evidence that compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres represent an appropriate and effective environment for the treatment of drug dependence or for the protection and rehabilitation of those detained.

Find out more about the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care here

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