Message from the President
Throughout 2014, FIACAT has supported the ACATs, helping them to have a genuine influence on changes in their respective countries. By making it easier for them to access the human rights protection mechanisms of international and regional organisations and by offering training in working with these institutions, FIACAT enables the ACATs to become active members of civil society in their own countries. This year, FIACAT and its members have denounced human rights violations, lobbied for the ratification of international legal instruments and contributed to the drafting of national laws which better protect the rights of individuals.
At a time when the indivisibility of human rights is frequently flouted, their universality regularly called into question and the need for them increasingly sacrificed on the altar of the fight against terrorism and for reasons of state, there is an ever greater need to stand alongside victims of torture and the death penalty, to issue a powerful reminder that, whenever and wherever the dignity of human beings is violated, human rights are a bulwark against the unacceptable, the failure to punish, injustice or discrimination.
In the same vein, and echoing the views repeatedly expressed by the World Council of Churches, on 22 June 2014 Pope Francis reiterated, for the Catholic Church, his "firm condemnation of all forms of torture". He called on Christians to undertake to work together towards the abolition of torture and to support victims and their families, appealing on 23 October 2014 to "all Christians and people of good will [.....] to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms, but also for the improvement of prison conditions.”
This is the battle which FIACAT and its network have been fighting for over forty years, a fight which will continue in 2015, to ensure that the dignity of every individual is protected and recognised, throughout the world.
Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual
President of FIACAT