Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicago Manifesto for a Torture-Free World

[The following was inspired by a conversation with Cherif Bassiouni and by testimony given at a hearing on Thursday, January 12, 2012, before the Committee on Human Relations of the City Council of the City of Chicago on a resolution to make Chicago a torture-free city. As Sister Benita Coffey has said, "Chicago's ban on torture should spur others to act too."]

[PS - Chicago City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY on January 18, 2012, to make Chicago a torture-free city.]

(1) I pledge to work with others in my community to make MY community torture-free.

(2) I pledge to encourage others to adopt the Manifesto, including working to make THEIR communities torture-free.

(3) I recognize that the reason people engage in torture is, in general, NOT to obtain information, but to injure the bodies and minds of those they subject to torture, and to instill fear and to terrorize others.

(4) A torture-free zone provides absolute rights of habeas corpus, and protects against indefinite detention.

(5) A torture-free zone guarantees every person due process and a fair trial, without exception.

(6) A torture-free zone guarantees everyone the absolute right to remain silent.

(7) A torture-free zone outlaws all forms of torture, of both mind and body, including extended solitary confinement.

(8) A torture-free zone prosecutes violators of its anti-torture laws, without exception and without limitation.

(9) A torture-free zone provides absolute legal protections to dissenters and whistleblowers.

(10) A torture-free zone performs an educational mission to share ALL of its experience and practices with others to hasten the achievement of a torture-free WORLD.

(11) I pledge to make my community a place that offers healing to survivors of torture.

(12) I support the collaboration of all those living in torture-free zones on the 1-year anniversary of this initial manifesto to update this manifesto to become a Global Manifesto for a Torture-Free World.


  1. In response to your blog

    Torture is fashionable again? Water-boarding and wherever the imagination wants to take you is becoming again legitimized as both moral & tool of intelligence gathering. Rick Santorum and his family values agenda is not OK with about every other behavior between consenting adults behind closed bedroom doors, but he wants to legitimize non-consensual actions of one human being with respect to another in White House sanctioned inquisitions employing God and country to justify. --READ MORE--

  2. Thanks for sharing Ambassador Mo's post. How can we disseminate this "Manifesto for a Torture-Free World" widely? Might it be possible for everyone who supports this Manifesto to call NATO to account when it is in Chicago in May, 2012?

  3. PS - It's important to remember that much of this is covered already by EXISTING law. Perhaps we need language such as:

    "I demand my city, state and country meet its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ensure that:

    - torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are never used;
    - all those responsible for torture or or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are held accountable;
    - all victims of torture or or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment have remedy and redress, including access to justice, rehabilitation and compensatation;
    - all people's rights to due process, fair trials and equality before the law are upheld."