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Acts of torture violate United States criminal laws, specifically the federal
Anti-Torture Statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 et seq. and the Federal War Crimes Act of
1996. They violate international treaties to which the United States is a party,
including the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Two bills crucial to ending such torture practices need our current support:
the Convention Against Torture Implementation Act (S. 654), introduced on March
17, 2005, by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and The Torture Outsourcing Prevention
Act (H.R. 952), introduced on February 17, 2005, by Representative Edward Markey
(D-MA). These bills would expressly ban “torture by proxy,” or extraordinary
renditions, which are violations of both international treaties and domestic
No United States policy or official – not the attorney general, not the
secretary of defense, not the president – is above the rule of law, including
laws against torture. This time-honored principle of respect for law is intended
to prevent governmental corruption and the abuse of power.
We, the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, firmly
reject the use of detention, incarceration, and interrogation techniques by
agents of the government of the United States that can be construed in terms of
law or common morality as torture and cruel or degrading punishment.
Therefore, the delegates to the 2005 General Assembly of the Unitarian
Universalist Association call upon our member congregations, affiliate
organizations, and individual Unitarian Universalists to support the Call for
Justice Weekend in Washington, D.C., on September 24-26, 2005, sponsored by the
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Stop Torture Permanently (STOP)
Campaign. Through this mock Citizens' Trial, participants will call on our
national leadership to eradicate current torture practices by the United States
This Citizens' Trial, supported by an interfaith coalition, intends to charge
United States secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Central Intelligence
Agency director George Tenet, and United States attorney general Alberto
Gonzales with aiding, abetting, ordering, and conspiring to commit the illegal
physical and psychological torture of detainees in the custody of the United
States in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo, as well as secret United
States-controlled prison facilities elsewhere. This interfaith coalition will
also charge these officials with the illegal transport, or extraordinary
rendition, of certain detainees to countries known for their systematic torture
It is vital that Unitarian Universalists call or write their United States
senators and representatives to support proposed legal restraints and to ban the
United States policies and practices of torture through appropriate and
immediate legislative restraints.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
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