Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Appeal from FCNL on Torture Legislation

From the website of FCNL:

That the U.S. Congress ever debated whether U.S.-sponsored torture is okay or not is already an indecent act and a stain on our country’s history.

That Congress might legalize some torture is a scandal. Yet, some powerful members of Congress support the Bush administration’s position that some torture should be permitted and that an absolute ban on torture unnecessarily ties the hands of government agents. These members of Congress are blocking Congress from adjournment, while they attempt to insert legal loopholes for torture in the military spending bill. These loopholes would allow some U.S. officials to use torture during some intelligence investigations.

I’m writing to urge you to telephone your members of Congress today to persuade them to speak out against any exceptions to the ban on torture, the McCain provision by Sen. John McCain (AZ).
I know many of you sent an email or wrote your representative last week at the urging of FCNL’s Kathy Guthrie. Your letters and emails in the last few months have persuaded a strong majority of Congress – Republican, Democrat, and Independent – to support the McCain provision to outlaw U.S. sponsored torture.

But some powerful members of Congress are still trying to protect people in the U.S. government who use torture and to block attempts to hold them legally responsible. In these waning days of 2005, we must demonstrate the will of the public to urge every member of Congress not to accept any exception, waiver, exemption, or weakening of the McCain amendment – and that includes any exemption from federal criminal prosecution for torture. Every senator and representative must realize that she or he has the responsibility to secure a firm and “loophole-free” prohibition on U.S. sponsored torture.

Take Action
Please pick up your telephone today to call your two senators and your representative. There isn’t time to send emails, these decisions will be made in the next few days. Tell your representative and senators that, even under end-of-the-year pressure, our elected representatives must stand steadfast and resolute against torture.
We must oppose torture – at any time, in any guise, under any definition, for any reason, and at any location.
Find the names and telephone numbers of your members of Congress by entering your zip code here: Or call the the Capitol Switchboard directly and ask to be connected to your members of Congress by name: 202-224-3121.
If you can, please forward this message to five friends with a message asking them to make the same calls this week. Together we can still recover our decency. Thank you for your urgent action this week.

For more information, please read the background information provided in the email message FCNL sent out last week at

Friday, December 09, 2005

GATS on the Universal Human Rights Day

"Let us be clear:
torture can never be an instrument to fight terror, for torture is an instrument of terror."
Kofi Annan,
United Nations Secretary-General

Philadelphia, PA (Dec 10, 2005) -
The Group Against Torture in Sudan (GATS) is dedicating Human Rights Day 2005 on 10 December to all victims of torture and their families. We call upon human rights advocates and orgs to work harder to stop atrocities allover the world especially in Sudan. The ongoing Darfur tragedy claimed the lives of tens of thousands and caused the forced displacement of more than 2 million civilians out of their homes.

For decades, the world did not pay enough attention to the ongoing mass killing that resulted in the current situation in Darfur. More that 2 million were killed in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains region over the last 2 decades. Thousands of peaceful Sudanese dissidents were detained and brutally tortured in secret places known as Ghost Houses.

Let us join the UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan, in his noble call against torture “Today, on Human Rights Day, let us recommit ourselves to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and let us rededicate ourselves to wiping the scourge of torture from the face of the earth.”

Human Rights Day should provide us with an opportunity to pay tribute to grassroots groups allover the world who, in formal and informal settings, in small or large communities, and often encountering difficulties and hazards, contribute to building a universal culture of human rights.

The Group Against Torture in Sudan (GATS) is a human rights advocacy group in the USA works to raise awareness about the torture worldwide and especially in Sudan.
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