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"Whoever tortures a human being, Whoever abuses a human being, Whoever outrages a human being, Abuses God's image, And the church takes as its own That cross, that martyrdom."


Archbishop Romero of El Salvador, murdered in 1980 because of his support for the poor and suffering people of his country

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international prayer vigil

The International Day of Prayer is a Vigil to mark U.N. Day of Support for Victims of Torture, which is held at the end of June. 

All the victims of torture and of mistreatment, those that are condemned to death, for every human being has the right to have their dignity respected. When we, the members of ACAT intervene on behalf of people dispossessed of their rights who feel their powerlessness, who live the reality of constant suffering and sometimes imminent death, we learn the true meaning of life and the need to help them by prayer and actions.

As Christians and members of ACAT, we have a role in this difficult situation. To find our role, we need to let Christ examine us and hear him say to us Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Mark 25; 40). We must do more than just listen to these words. We should put ourselves in the place of Jesus at the moment where he said that we should weigh carefully and imagine the commitment these words represents “the least of these brothers of mine”. We have to accept this role as disciples of Jesus.

We are convinced that God is calling us to live as brothers. God’s love for the world works through all of humanity pulling together to live as one. May Man meet Man, recognise in each other their innate dignity as one of God’s children, to move towards a communion of love.

Prayer is at the heart of all the actions of ACAT.

The prayers of members of ACAT support people who are or have been tortured. These prayers of supplication and intercession for the tortured takes into account the perpetrators, as well as victims, as well as the monstrous systems that dehumanize the victims. Because it excludes hate, prayer attempts to close the spiral of revenge.

 

Resources

ACAT France has produced excellent resources including prayers and names of specific prisoners to be prayed for which can be found at www.nuitdesveilleurs.fr/-Welcome,2-

For a possible prayer vigil service click here

This year’s theme is at present unknown - Details to follow.

What can you do?

Join in The Prayers and the Night Vigils. Each year, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – ACAT France organises the Night Vigil, and an International Day of Prayer dedicated to the victims of torture. Others include appropriate prayers, readings and even sermons in their church worship on the previous Sunday, 25th June. On the nuitdesveilleurs.com website you can find people for whom to pray, prayer ideas, songs, meditations and readings.

Background

On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture. Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellows.

The first International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was held on June 26, 1998. It was a day when the United Nations appealed to all governments and members of civil society to take action to defeat torture and torturers everywhere.

Organizations, including Amnesty International and FIACAT have played an active role in organizing events around the world to promote this day. Activities may include: photo exhibitions; the distribution of posters and other material to boost people’s awareness of issues related to human torture; and prayer vigil.

ACAT France, member of FIACAT, initiated a Prayer Vigil twelve years ago (called “La nuit des veilleurs”). ACAT UK has taken part in this action the last nine years.

ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY
GREETING CARD CAMPAIGN
SOS TORTURE