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Art by a torture survivor.

Art by a torture survivor.

On May 13, 2014, Amnesty International launched a new global campaign, Stop Torture, to “ensure that everyone be protected from torture” and is “urging people to demand a stop to torture.”

CVT commends Amnesty International for its longtime commitment to raising worldwide awareness of the scourge of torture and to working toward stopping torture.

As part its campaign, Amnesty International published a report, Torture in 2014: 30 Years of Broken Promises, documenting methods of torture used during the past year and the regions and countries where cases of torture and ill-treatment were reported to the organization.

Among the methods listed in the report are several ones used by the U.S. government in the aftermath of 9/11, including stress positions, sleep deprivation, mock executions.

CVT created a handout briefly describing the known scientific, medical and clinical effects of these and other specific methods of abuse. We see the damaging effects of many of these forms of torture at our St. Paul Healing Clinic and our international healing sites.

Amnesty International also released the results of a global survey on worldwide attitudes to torture. A couple of the numbers are sobering.

Among the respondents from 21 countries across the globe, 44 percent fear they would be at risk of torture if taken into custody in their home country. Thirty-six percent say that torture can be justified in some cases to protect the public.

Torture is never justified. Period.

Torture survivors consistently tell CVT that they would—and did—say anything to make the torture stop. This is true for victims subjected to physical torture as well as psychological torture. Multiple studies show that torture is far more likely to produce ambiguous and false, rather than clear and reliable, information.

The bright spot is that 82 percent of respondents want strong laws against torture.

We know the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is a powerful instrument to opposing torture. It confirms the basic right for individuals not to be tortured and obligates signatories to provide torture survivors “as full a rehabilitation as possible.”

CVT’s mission is “To heal the wounds of torture on individuals, their families and their communities and to end torture worldwide.”

Just prior to Amnesty International’s Stop Torture campaign announcement, CVT Executive Director Curt Goering appeared on Al Jazeera America to address the trauma of torture. To learn more about CVT’s work to end torture, we encourage you to visit our Advocacy page.

There is still much more to be done to bring an end to torture once and for all. CVT will not cease in our efforts to give a voice to people who were purposefully silenced by perpetrators of torture.