From the Archive
Attention Obama, Congress and the Courts: Americans Still Believe that Torture, Abuse and Indefinite Detention Are Wrong
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, June 23rd, 2011, members of Witness Against Torture, Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition International, Amnesty International and other groups will embark on a March of Shame, walking between the institutions of power in Washington, DC that continue to be responsible for policies of injustice, cruelty and illegality.
Beginning at the White House at 11am, the anti-torture activists will dress in the iconic orange jumpsuits and black hoods that are now emblematic of the policies of torture and abuse that the Obama administration inherited from President George W. Bush and have further entrenched. Then the group will walk to the Department of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Capitol and arrive at the Senate Hart Building at 1pm for a vigil and action.
“I am walking this week because the United Nations declared June to be Torture Awareness Month. And there is definitely a deficit of awareness in this country. Many Americans assume that Because President Barack Obama signed an executive order outlawing torture and committing to closing Guantanamo,” says Beth Brockman, an activist from Durham, North Carolina. “But those promises mean nothing more than two years later. Because the whole unjust and immoral system of detention should have been dismantled, and it continues!”
“The whole system is broken,” says activist Jeremy Varon of Brooklyn, New York, who teaches history at the New School University. “Every political institution in this city is culpable. And now, Congress is stepping in to further institutionalize that system by making Guantanamo permanent and enshrining military detention and trials. It is an outrage and a crime.”
The grassroots Witness Against Torture is being joined in the March of Shame by Amnesty International, which hopes to draw attention to the case of torture survivor Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen rendered and tortured by the United States. Amnesty is calling on the Obama White House and Congress to apologize to Arar and to ensure accountability for the US government’s use of torture since the September 11th attacks.
In addition to the Thursday Walk of Shame, Witness Against Torture will vigil in front of the Department of Justice on Wednesday (6/22) and Friday (6/24) from noon to 2pm.
These vigils and the Walk of Shame are part of a week of activities being organized by the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition International, which will culminate in a twelve hour vigil in front of the White House on Saturday, June 25th from 7am to 7pm.