Saturday, June 26, 2010

Remembering the tortured

June 26 has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Twenty-three years ago the Convention against Torture came into force on June 26, 1987. One hundred and forty-six nations, including the United States, are parties to this treaty.

From the United Nations website:

Torture is one of the most profound human rights abuses, taking a terrible toll on millions of individuals and their families. Rape, blows to the soles of the feet, suffocation in water, burns, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, shaking and beating are commonly used by torturers to break down an individual's personality. As terrible as the physical wounds are, the psychological and emotional scars are usually the most devastating and the most difficult to repair. Many torture survivors suffer recurring nightmares and flashbacks. They withdraw from family, school and work and feel a loss of trust.

"Today the United Nations appeals to all governments and members of civil society to take action to defeat torture and torturers everywhere", says [former] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable", he said.

Obviously the need to speak up is not less than in 1998 when those words were written. For citizens of the United States, the need is even greater today when our country has taken to defining so many of the activities of torture listed above as permissble "hard interrogation techniques." The weasel words don't change the reality: the United States has officially joined the torture states.

As a free bumper sticker from Quaker House reminds us:
Accountability Today
Stops Torture Tomorrow.


Kay Dennison said...

Amen and hallelujah! I need one of those bumper stickers.

Darlene said...

If I had a car I would request a bumper sticker. I can at least write my President to stop the rendition that George Bush put in place. It is abominable that it continues.

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