Join the Treaty: The U.S. Should Act To Prevent Torture Everywhere
The Optional Protocols to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) is an international treaty that would commit the US to creating an independent oversight mechanism ensuring that people in the US are not subject to torture, cruelty or inhumane treatment. Jewish values teach us to pursue justice relentlessly; OPCAT will make certain that justice in the United States is carried out fairly and in accordance with our highest values as a nation. Sign this petition and urge the President to sign OPCAT and send it to the Senate for ratification.
Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are contrary to our common religious belief in the fundamental dignity of each human being. We call upon the U.S. government, once a leader in the effort to end the use of torture, to reclaim that role by signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).
One of the most important steps a nation can take to end torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is to provide independent oversight of the conditions in which people are detained. By creating mechanisms that can prevent torture, including international inspection teams, OPCAT builds upon the prohibition against torture contained in the Convention Against Torture, a treaty to which the U.S. is already a party and which is U.S. law. OPCAT requires each nation that ratifies the treaty to develop its own independent mechanism for monitoring detention facilities, including prisons and police stations.
We believe that if the U.S. joins OPCAT and provides robust oversight of its places of detention, it will be significantly more difficult for cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment to occur within the U.S. Ratifying OPCAT would also enhance our government’s effectiveness in urging other countries to end their use of torture.
As people of many faiths and creeds, we oppose torture. We call upon our government to do everything it can to prevent torture everywhere. We call upon the President to sign OPCAT, and we call upon the U.S. Senate to ratify it.
The Religious Action Center is partnering with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and other religious organizations to send a message urging the President and Congress to sign and ratify the Optional Protocols Against Torture!
The United States can learn from the experiences of the 63 nations that have ratified OPCAT, including Great Britain, Sweden and Tunisia. OPCAT commits the US to setting up oversight bodies that will prevent torture and abuse in places of confinement including: jails, prisons, mental health facilities, immigration detention centers, detainee centers like Guantanamo, and police stations. OPCAT has already helped these 63 countries confront the challenge of eliminating torture from their prisons and detention centers.
The Reform Jewish Movement has long been clear that torture degrades both the tortured and the torturer. We believe that all human beings are created B’tselem Elohim, in the image of God, and are thus entitle to basic rights and dignity. Torture, cruelty and inhumane treatment are an affront to the dignity of those in U.S. custody and our beneath the dignity of a nation committed to human rights. We believe that the Torah compels us to seek justice, yet we believe that justice must come through just means.
Urge the President and Congress to sign and ratify the Optional Protocols Against Torture! Torture, cruelty and inhumane treatment are an affront to the dignity of those in U.S. custody and our beneath the dignity of a nation committed to human rights. For more information, contact RAC Legislative Assistant Benny Witkovsky.