National Religious Campaign Against Torture
1. Increase the number of people in the U.S. who believe that torture is always wrong – without exception. Strategies include:
- Providing resource materials to congregations including sample prayers and the video “Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever”;
- Organizing conferences on torture for people of faith, like the one at Duke University Divinity School on March 25-26;
- Working with denominations and faith groups to develop national strategies for educating congregations. NRCAT will implement a congregation-based strategy on OPCAT (see below) with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, in which 25% of Unitarian Universalist congregations are expected to participate in this effort;
- Providing state ecumenical agencies and other partners with tools to help congregations increase the number of their members who believe that torture is always wrong.
2. Advocate for a U.S. government-appointed Commission of Inquiry. Strategies include:
- Pointing out through op-eds and NRCAT’s Letters-to-the-Editor project the need for a government-appointed Commission of Inquiry;
- Holding events and providing resource materials during Torture Awareness Month, June 2011, to publicize the need for a government-appointed Commission of Inquiry.
3. Codify into law elements of President Obama’s Executive Order on interrogations. Strategies include:
- Enabling constituents to lobby new Members of Congress about the issue;
- Providing supporters with opportunities to urge their Members of Congress to pass legislation allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all detainees;
- Working with the NRCAT Action Fund to engage in direct lobbying for legislation mandating that the ICRC be allowed access to all detainees;
- Providing NRCAT supporters with information about the importance of ICRC access and of the necessity of codifying new, stronger interrogation standards to prevent the use of torture.
4. Advocate for the end of long-term solitary confinement in prisons. Strategies include:
- Beginning in five states, NRCAT will work with state religious organizations to support efforts to limit the use of solitary confinement through legislative and policy reforms;
- Providing suggestions to religious leaders nationwide for limiting the use of solitary confinement;
- Lobbying Congress to create a commission to review conditions of confinement and to restrict the use of isolation.
5. Urge President Obama to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). This treaty would protect all prisoners in U.S. custody from torture by setting up mechanisms to assure that U.S. laws prohibiting torture are followed in all detention facilities, including domestic prisons. Strategies include:
- Producing and promoting an educational video on OPCAT;
- Asking national senior religious leaders, individual people of faith, and religious organizations to endorse a statement calling upon the President to sign the treaty;
- Meeting with the State Department about the treaty.
6. Advocate for the State Department to prepare a “Torture Watch List” of countries engaged in torture and then to make U.S. assistance available for efforts to end the use of torture.
7. Work with the Multi-Religious Campaign Against Anti-Muslim Bigotry to end anti-Muslim bigotry.
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