University of Minnesota

World Confederation for Physical Therapy, Guidelines Concerning Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (1995).


1. The physiotherapist shall not countenance, condone or participate in the practice of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading procedures, whatever the offence of which the victim of such procedures is suspected, accused or guilty and whatever the victim's beliefs or motives, and in all situations, including armed conflict and civil strife.

2. The physiotherapist shall not provide any premises, instruments, substances or knowledge to facilitate the practice of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or to diminish the ability of the victim to resist such treatment.

3. The physiotherapists shall not be present during any procedure during which torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are used or threatened.

4. The physiotherapist's fundamental role is alleviating distress of his or her fellow men, and no motive whether personal, collective or political shall prevail against this higher purpose.

5. The World Confederation for Physical Therapy will support and should encourage the international community, the national physiotherapists' associations and fellow physiotherapists to support the physiotherapist and physiotherapist's family in the face of threats or reprisals resulting from a refusal to condone the use of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

6. The practising physiotherapist should have adequate knowledge of the general and specific neurological, musculoskeletal and psychological dysfunction which can be expected to appear as the effects of physical and psychological torture, as well as of appropriate functional assessment and treatment procedures for survivors of torture.

7. Education regarding the prevention and prohibition of torture as well as the assessment and treatment of torture victims should be included in the curriculum for undergraduate and continuing physiotherapy education programmes.

Adopted at the WCPT 13th General Meeting

June 1995 Washington DC



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