Monday, July 02, 2012

Observing the International Torture Survivors' Day FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 26, 2012CONTACTS: Mohamed Elgadi & Martha Speigelman, Coordinators

“They took me to a secret prison where I was subjected to electric shocks to my vagina.”
Nora, from Honduras (Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, Survivor Testimonies)

“The torture inflicted on me was intolerable, especially the use of electric shocks and anal penetration using solid objects.” Unidentified male victim (Group Against Torture in Sudan, Survivor Testimonies)

“My father does not want to talk about his experience after all these years. I can see and
feel the mental damage of torture on him.” Mamoun, a child of a torture survivor, Albany, NY

“I will never forget what I experienced. But I’m trying to rebuild my destroyed life.” TK, Kosovo (International Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Survivor Testimony)

Amherst, MA-In its effort to combat torture, the United Nations proclaimed June 26 as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and, as the former Secretary-General KofiAnnan declared, "an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable." This
day is an opportunity to stand up together against this cruel crime against human rights. The United Nation’s theme for this year’s torture survivor’s campaign is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation can be effective in empowering torture victims to resume as full a life as possible, as noted by
many human rights advocacy groups. Nonetheless, community support is a key in this journey, according to many victims. “If it was not for my family, close friends and neighbors, I do not think I could have survived” reported one of the half-million survivors who live in the United States. It takes time and resources to re-build the intentionally destroyed lives of those who were
targeted by the government-supported torture establishment. Amnesty International’s Amherst Group 128 observes the United Nations’ InternationalDay for Torture Survivors this June 26th with cautious optimism. President Obama reiterated his strong stance against torture and
considers the CIA Enhanced Interrogation Techniques as torture. However, many voices within the Administration continue to give mixed messages about their stance toward torture. We believe that torture against one person is a crime against all of us.