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Catholic agencies speak out for torture victims

Torture is a profound attack on human dignity that makes both the victim and the perpetrator less human, according to a statement released for today's International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture, by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council and the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office.

"Today we remember especially those survivors of torture who have sought refuge in Australia, hoping to find safety and a chance to rebuild their lives," said agency heads Sandie Cornish and Fr John Murphy. "Once again, on this International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture we must ask ourselves: How well have we as a nation welcomed and supported survivors of torture?"

The statement pointed out that we may encounter victims of torture without realising it.

"The scars are not always visible or of a physical nature. Often they are traumatised again by recounting their experiences and prefer not to talk about it."

The Catholic agency heads urged Catholics to "bring the hidden horror of torture into the light, and work for its elimination".

They made practical suggestions of praying for torture victims and perpetrators some time today, and reading the prison writings of Cardinal Van Thuan, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.

International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture
Amnesty International Campaign against Torture
Treatment of detainees 'amounts to torture' (Catholic Weekly 8/7/01)


26 Jun 2002