Today is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, marking the 32nd anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. President Reagan, a strong advocate for the convention, said in 1988, at the time that the United States signed the Convention that, “[r]atification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.”
While much progress has been made over the past three decades, unfortunately President Reagan’s assessment remains accurate: Torture is still practiced in many parts of the world to punish individuals and to coerce questionable confessions.
Not only is torture unlawful, it is morally wrong.
Torture is prohibited by international law and is incompatible with the values that define us as a people. Following John Adams’ “Policy of Humanity,” General Washington and his “army of liberty” refused to torture British prisoners of war, even those who had tortured his own men. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated recently, “The United States is unambiguous. We never conduct torture, period, full stop.”
The United States condemns the use of torture in every circumstance as a violation of international law and the God-given dignity of human life. We stand with victims of torture in seeking justice and an end to this abhorrent practice.