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A detention centre cell in Kherson, Ukraine, where, Ukrainians say, Russian soldiers tortured prisoners (CNS/Murad Sezer, Reuters)

Pope Francis has called on the international community to work against torture and to guarantee support to victims and their families. Source: NCR Online.

“Let us put a stop to this horror of torture. It is essential to put the dignity of the person above all else,” the Pope said in a video message released on May 30 by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

The network posts a short video of the Pope offering his specific prayer intention each month. For the month of June, the Pope dedicated his prayer intention to the abolition of torture.

The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is on June 26 to highlight the day when the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect in 1987. While torture is prohibited by international law and is illegal in most countries, it is still practised worldwide.

In his video message, the Pope asked, “How is it possible that the human capacity for cruelty is so huge?” Torture is “not something new. Let’s think of how Jesus himself was tortured and crucified.”

While there are extremely violent forms of torture, “others are more sophisticated, such as degrading someone, dulling the senses, or mass detentions in conditions so inhumane that they take away the dignity of the person,” he said.

Victims are not seen as persons, but as “things” that “can be mistreated mercilessly, causing death or permanent psychological and physical harm lasting a lifetime,” the Pope said.

“Let us pray that the international community commit itself concretely to abolish torture, guaranteeing support to victims and their families,” he added.


Pope calls for an end to the use of torture (By Carol Glatz, CNS via NCR Online)