A Welsh Christian group will challenge general election candidates to make clear whether they believe it is always wrong to use torture.
“We need firm commitments," said the Rev Roy Jenkins, chair of Christians Against Torture, “Everyone will say they dislike torture, but the key question is whether candidates believe that torture is unacceptable in all circumstances, which is what our government and others have signed up to”.
He added, “We are continually told that the UK never orders, approves or condones the use of torture. But complicity has been confirmed by some of the country’s most senior judges.”
Christians Against Torture supporters will be raising the issue at public meetings, on the doorstep or by correspondence.
They will challenge candidates on whether they support the UK’s continued commitment to international conventions on torture, full investigation of all claims of torture, and the criminal trial of those accused.
Jenkins insisted, “This is not some remote, theoretical issue. Minds and bodies are being broken deliberately, and it is vital that candidates are confronted with the hard questions which some might prefer not to face.”
Supporters of the campaign will also challenge candidates to commit themselves to a United Nations (UN) covenant to prevent the practice of 'disappearance', used by government agencies around the world to silence political dissent, and to persecute religious and ethnic minorities.
Christians Against Torture point out that the UK helped to draw up the UN covenant against the practice, and yet remains one of only two western European states not to have signed it.
“There are increasing calls for governments to go soft on their absolute commitment to the use of torture,” declared the group, “They must be resisted strongly”.
They added that, “The right not to be tortured is a basic one, affirmed in the great international agreements and reflecting the belief that human beings are made in the image of God, the objects of his love in Christ.”
Christians Against Torture encourages Christians of all traditions to work and pray for the abolition of torture and the care of its victims. It is independent, but functions as an agency of Cytun, Churches Together in Wales.