|During Human Rights Day (December 10), your congregation can:
1. Use worship materials prepared for different faith groups and a bulletin insert.
2. Collect signatures on the petition asking the President to sign OPCAT.
2. Show the video Preventing Torture Everywhere featuring tetimony from torture survivors now living in the U.S.
How can a country make sure that torture and abuse does not go on in its places of confinement?
Torture happens throughout the world and most countries want it to stop. It is illegal, but that doesn’t prevent it from occurring.
The United States, which has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), can learn from the experiences of the 63 nations that have ratified it, including Great Britain, Sweden and Tunisia. OPCAT, which has been effective, sets up oversight bodies and other national mechanisms that prevent torture and abuse in places of confinement including: jails, prisons, mental health facilities, immigration detention centers, detainee centers like Guantanamo, and police stations.
The United States has the same challenge. A Chicago Police Commander tortured people for decades; torture and abuse occurs in solitary confinement in the Pelican Bay supermax prison in California and similar prisons in other states; and rape, sexual and other abuse occur in U.S. immigration detention centers which hold 40,000 people every day.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture invites you to mark Human Rights Day by lifting up the need to shine a light on places where torture might occur in the U.S. Your congregation can use worship materials, show a video, or gather signatures for the petition asking the President to sign the OPCAT. You can go to www.nrcat.org/human_rights_day for resources for this special weekend.
During Human Rights Day (December 10), your congregation can:
- Use worship materials prepared for different faith groups and a bulletin insert. >>Go to the worship materials page.
- Collect signatures on the petition asking the President to sign OPCAT. On November 27, 2012, senior religious leaders had a meeting in the White House to ask the President to sign OPCAT. We want to have 5,000 people of faith sign the NRCAT statement by that meeting. We currently have 3,500 names. To help you collect endorsements, we have a petition-style form for gathering hand written endorsements and a single-page format of the Statement on OPCAT.
- Show the video "Preventing Torture Everywhere," featuring testimony from torture survivors now living in the U.S. >>Watch the video, order the DVD and download resources.
In order to assist your outreach, we have prepared materials including a FAQ sheet to answer questions that might arise when circulating the statement and a bulletin insert that can be placed in your congregation’s bulletin or used as a flyer.
- Petition-style form for gathering hand written endorsements
- Bulletin insert for your congregation or to hand out as a flyer
- Single-page format of statement on OPCAT
- Online form to add your name to the call for the U.S. to join the OPCAT treaty, a new treaty to prevent torture
- A statement signed by over 65 heads of faith groups and other religious leaders
- Sample resolution that can be adapted for your religious institution
- Preventing Torture Everywhere video page with the video, discussion guide and DVD order information
- Tell-A-Friend message you can customize and send to invite people to join the Preventing Torture Everywhere campaign
- Testimonies - voices of torture survivors
- FAQ: More about OPCAT, in FAQ format
- "OPCAT on the Ground: What Difference Does It Make?” – an article by Stephen Hart
- Full text of Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Nations that have signed or ratified OPCAT
- Fact Sheet: The Importance of Signing and Ratifying OPCAT (PDF)
- Background & Ratification Process (PDF)