26 June 2011
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
“The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an occasion to underscore the internationally recognized right of all men and women to live free from torture. It is an opportunity to reaffirm our collective commitment to prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 26 June 2010
The practice of torture is a violation of an intangible human right, a person’s physical, mental and moral integrity. It destroys the very dignity on which human rights are based, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
More than ever, the International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT) aims to be the mouthpiece expressing a strong commitment by Christians to upholding a ban on torture. Nothing and no-one can justify torture.
During the night of 25 to 26 June 2011, FIACAT and its ACAT network call upon Christians all over the world to remember in their prayers, throughout the Night Vigil (http://www.nuitdesveilleurs.fr/en/0....), all the victims of torture and atrocities in Côte d’Ivoire. Following the disputed presidential election in November 2010 there were numerous violations of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire: hundreds of people were unlawfully killed, women were subjected to sexual violence and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. The population has been traumatised by the violence of the past six months.
On 30 March 2011, Benedict XVI appealed for prayers for the people of Côte d’Ivoire, traumatised by the painful internal fighting and serious social and political tensions. The Pope expressed his closeness to all those who had lost someone dear and been subjected to violence. The 6th Night Vigil will this year once again gather together thousands of Christians in support of the victims of torture. Together they form a community keeping vigil, inspired by the hope of a world without torture. In 2010, thousands took part in this event, with over 300 initiatives in some thirty countries.
Today torture is thought to be practised in over half of the countries of the world. Four features are common to torture: pain or acute physical or mental suffering is caused; the act of torture is deliberate; it is inflicted with a specific aim in view, and an agent officially representing the State or a person acting with the express or tacit consent of the State is involved.
Marie-Jo COCHER –FIACAT Executive Secretary
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