“This project was launched at Yerevan State Medical University on November 1, 2015 and during these 8 months we already have a very efficient and good image. It aims to prevent torture and to increase doctors' awareness of effective documentation. To implement the project, a group was formed, consisting of experts in various fields - lawyers, psychologists, doctors, forensic doctor, the family doctor and the Ombudsman Office expert. The group's goal was to transfer the knowledge and skills that are important in the world as a torture prevention,” the speaker said.
Project organizers chose the groups of students, traumatologists, family doctors, psychiatrists, who can meet the cases of torture most often while working in hospitals.
“We realized that we have a problem not only in terms of professional knowledge and skills, but also way of thinking because there were doctors who believed that there are cases when torture may be used and it is justified. Our task was to explain that, no, there is no excuse for torture and no explanation or justification for this issue,” Ohanyan added.
As a reply to the question what cases doctors tried to justify, Ohanyan replied that there were future doctors who seeing the torture conducted by the Azerbaijanis during the four-day war, noted that the Armenian side should apply torture against Azerbaijani soldiers too.
“We explained that torture is human rights violation and a criminal act in all cases. So, I think that this work should continue, because we have a problem with the health care system too because we do not have an algorithm of clear, coordinated actions which will help the doctor who comes across a case of torture to arrange actions correctly. So far, there is no standard form for documentation in Armenia,” the speaker said.
Laura Gasparyan, Doctor at the Department of Prevention of Torture and Ill-treatment of the Ombudsman Office, hoped that this project will be long-term as a mandatory educational program and will have visible results for the society.
“It is important that such programs are especially for doctors, because as you know, both the penitentiary system, and the police have a problem with the recruitment of doctors and medical services are still lacking in this regard. Therefore, teaching this subject at the medical university will be very efficient, so they can support and make the right documentation of the cases of torture, in order to be able to identify those cases later and make the right assessment,” the speaker said.
Maria Ohanyan also highlighted the continuity of the project, noting that it is necessary to expand and implement it among the acting physicians, as well as to carry out serious work on public awareness, so that the tortured citizens are well informed about their rights and the necessary steps to take at the right time.
Arevik Sahakyan, Program coordinator at “Media Center”
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