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National Day of Action To End Torture: 5 resources to educate and take action

Prison fence lined with barbed wire and a watch tower
Photo: AFSC

On October 21, 1994 the United States Senate ratified the UN Convention Against Torture.  In undertaking this act, the US became legally bound by the terms of the Convention and embraced its responsibility to end acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. 

Despite these obligations, the US government continues to fall short in implementing the terms of this human rights instrument.  In November 2014 the UN Committee Against Torture will review US compliance with the Convention.  Civil society organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee, will travel to Geneva to raise concerns about US breaches of Convention provisions and call on the US government to end torture.

Here are 5 resources to learn more about torture in the US and how you can help end these human rights abuses:

  1. Participate in the National Day of Action to End Torture on October 22nd, 2014;
  2. Read Survivors Speak: Torture in US Prisons, a shadow report to the Committee authored by AFSC;
  3. Download and share Torture in US Prisons: Evidence of Human Rights Violations, created by the AFSC Northeast Region Healing Justice Program;
  4. Check out Race and the Politics of Isolation in US Prisons, a journal article written by AFSC’s Bonnie Kerness and Jamie Bissonette Lewey;
  5. View AFSC’s blog post discussing the California Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on isolation in state prisons and testimony given by AFSC’s Laura Magnani.
Prison fence lined with barbed wire and a watch tower
UN shadow report: Prisoner testimonies of torture in U.S. prisons and jails

Submitted to the U.N. Committee Against Torture in 2014, "Survivors Speak" is a collection of testimonies of prisoners subjected to cruel treatment or who have witnessed abuses committed against others while held in U.S. custody.

Torture in U.S. prisons

This 2011 report presents prisoners’ testimonies of torture and abuse alongside related international human rights agreements.