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August 3, 1994

Studying Torture SurvivorsAn Emerging Field in Mental Health

Author Affiliations

From the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Istanbul Branch and the editorial office of JAMA-Turkey.

JAMA. 1994;272(5):400-401. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520050080035

The United Nations General Assembly has defined torture as the intentional infliction of physical or mental suffering by agents of the state.1 According to an analysis2 of Amnesty International's 1992 report on human rights violations, systematic torture was practiced in about half of the countries in the world in 1991. Although the total number of states that ratified or acceded to the United Nation's Convention Against Torture1 increased to 71 during 1992, the overall situation regarding human rights violations including torture has not improved.3

Despite the recognition that torture is widespread in many parts of the world and may lead to serious physical and emotional problems, the subject received relatively little scientific attention until the last two decades.4 The increased interest in this issue may have been promoted partly by the growing population of political refugees in Western countries and the studies by health professionals involved

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