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Arguments against Torture

January 2011

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Torture – why it is not fitting for us:

- Torture destroys the victim and the perpetrator. It breaks the latter by making him sub-human and debases those who commit it.

- Every human being deserves respect. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recalls the rights and duties of all of us.

- Mankind, in order to survive on earth, must limit the extent of his violence and put a stop to certain types of destructive behaviour.

- We are responsible for each other which means we must ensure full respect of our rights and the dignity of our fellow men and women.

- Torture is always an evil for those involved; there is no such thing as “good” torture, nor good reasons to torture. The end does not justify the means.

- The consequences of torture remain with an individual throughout his life; his soul and his body will bear the marks of his suffering until the end of his days.

- Torture is useless and does not lead to the truth: “at best the tortured individual will tell you what you want to hear; at worst you will obtain nothing”.

- Torture does not make people talk; it makes them keep quiet.

Christian reasons for refusing torture:

- Man was created in God’s image and part of him is “sacred”. In Jesus’ name we are called upon to protest against everything that degrades man.

- Torture is contrary to the message of love in the Gospel: whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

- Christ was tortured on the cross, but God also overcame death and raised up those who had fallen. He gives hope and strength to those who suffer and leads them to the Resurrection.

- In the gesture of the Good Samaritan, approaching the wounded man on the road, Jesus shows that love is at the heart of the alliance between God and mankind.

- We must work towards a better and more harmonious world; that means never resigning ourselves to barbarity and meanness.

- The Church of Christ has not always remained faithful to the word of the Gospel and has sometimes mistreated men and women and justified the use of torture. Today, however, Churches and Christians fight and pray for both victims and torturers in order to put an end to these inhuman practises.

- Christ calls on all men, even those who commit torture, to “change” and to convert. The love of God reaches even the hardest of hearts.

- The Gospel makes watchmen of us all.

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