PYM Minute 2011.8: Opposition to Torture

PYM Minute 2011.8: As Friends, we stand firmly opposed to torture committed by anyone in any setting.  We support the work of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (http://www.nrcat.org/) as well as of Quakers’ Initiative to End Torture (http://www.quit-torture-now.org/). We urge elected officials to bring to justice those who have authorized torture in violation of international law. We urge our governments to stop preventing the victims of torture from seeking redress and just compensation in our courts. We are also deeply concerned that cruel and inhumane punishment such as involuntary long-term solitary confinement are taking place in prisons in California and throughout the USA and the world.  Finally, we support the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), which can help prevent torture and abuse by requiring a ratifying country to establish National Preventative Mechanisms (NPMs) to monitor the treatment of prisoners. In addition to the NPMs, OPCAT allows for international oversight of places of confinement to ensure that torture and other abuses are not occurring.

As Quakers, we believe that torture is a moral and religious issue. We believe that there is “that of God” in every human being and therefore everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Torture does incalculable and long-lasting damage to the torturer, the torture victim and the witnesses of torture. Torture erodes a nation’s moral fiber, diminishes its moral standing in the world, incites retaliation, and puts at risk the lives of its citizens abroad and at home.

We urge an end to this practice.”