We need to teach human rights in medical schools


  • Daniel Weishut Hadassah Academic College
  • Lucy Aitchison
  • Bettina Steiner-Birmanns




human rights, education, medical school, Israel, Palestinians, prison, World Medical Association, body cavity search, internal examination


There are protocols of the questioning of a young military physician in the Israeli Defense Forces, who performed a vaginal examination on a Palestinian woman under arrest, against the latter’s expressed will and without a medical indication. In support of the WMA guidelines on including human rights courses in medical schools, we call on medical schools to integrate a human rights perspective and introduce sufficient material on human rights, prisoners’ rights and medical ethics to help physicians like her make the right decisions in challenging situations such as the one described.



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Weishut, D. J. N. (2015). Sexual torture of Palestinian men by Israeli authorities. Reproductive Health Matters, 23(46), 71–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rhm.2015.11.019

World Medical Association (2021). WMA resolution on the inclusion of medical ethics and human rights in the curriculum of medical schools world-wide. Seoul. https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-resolution-on-the-inclusion-of-medical-ethics-and-human-rights-in-the-curriculum-of-medical-schools-world-wide/

World Medical Association (2016). WMA statement on body searches of prisoners. Taipei, Taiwan. https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-statement-on-body-searches-of-prisoners/



2021-10-20 — Updated on 2021-10-21

How to Cite

Weishut, D., Aitchison, L., & Steiner-Birmanns, B. (2021). We need to teach human rights in medical schools. Torture Journal, 31(2), 147–148. https://doi.org/10.7146/torture.v31i2.128025