WHEREAS, June 26 is the day on which the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force in 1987; and
WHEREAS, the Government of the United States ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1994, making the Convention part of U.S. law; and
WHEREAS, incidents of torture and degrading practices perpetrated by or on behalf of the United States government have been documented in Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere; and
WHEREAS, torture degrades everyone involved—policymakers, those represented by the policymakers, perpetrators, and victims; and
WHEREAS, torture contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals and the rights of individuals during times of global conflict, which have long been protected under international law, such as the Geneva Conventions and those provisions of the United States’ Constitution, such as the Fifth Amendment ban on self-incrimination, the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law; and
WHEREAS, thirty-eight retired military leaders, including two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have spoken publicly against torture saying, “If degradation, humiliation, physical and mental brutalization of prisoners is decriminalized or considered permissible … we will forfeit all credible objections should such barbaric practices be inflicted upon American prisoners”; and
WHEREAS, security experts such as FBI special agent Jack Cloonan, torture victim Senator John McCain (R-AZ), former Army JAG Major General Thomas Romig, and Air Force Major and interrogator Matthew Alexander (pseudonym) have stated that abuse of U.S. detainees encourages recruitment by terrorist groups; and
WHEREAS, citizens of Northampton, along with groups such as Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy and Torture and Pioneer Valley No More Guantánamos, are participating in efforts to oppose torture; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations has proclaimed June 26 the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations appeals to all Governments and members of civil society to take action every year to defeat torture and torturers everywhere,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT I, Mayor Mary Clare Higgins, do hereby stand against all forms of torture and inhuman treatment and do proclaim June 26, 2010, as United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, recognizing victims of torture and those who fight against torture.
In Witness whereof, I have set my hand and imprinted the City seal,
this 22nd day of June in the year 2011.
Mary Clare Higgins, Mayor
City of Northampton, Massachusetts