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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

United States Province

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Oblates Join Religious Coalition Calling for Investigation by US DOJ into use of Torture

June 10th, 2009

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office has joined the Torture Abolition Survivors Support Coalition and more than 180 other organizations in calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate and prosecute members of the Bush administration for violations of US and International law pertaining to torture.

“The recent endorsement by the Oblates is the latest showing of support by Catholics who see that the Church’s social teaching is not being endorsed by people in power,” TASSC program director Sr. Alice Zachmann, SSND, said.

The announcement comes days after the National Religious Campaign Against Torture sponsored a conference on torture, the law and modern Catholic social teaching at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of law.

In that conference, University of Notre Dame Kroc Institute of Peace Studies professor George Lopez said the U.S. military’s way of waging war since the Persian Gulf conflict includes waging war on the civilian population.

“In the new war paradigm, militaries wage war on citizens by destroying the public works and infrastructure of communities and this continues to effect the population of the country years after the war has ended,” Lopez said. “The new torture paradigm is aimed not only at terrorists but sympathizers in the community. The goal is to send sympathizers back to their villages to serve as examples of what will happen if they oppose the military might of those in power in the region.”

Harold Nelson, TASSC advocacy coordinator said he feels accountability is necessary for the Obama Administration, a presidency already embattled by the nation’s economic woes, to prove they are serious about protecting human rights not just cashing in on the “change moniker.”

“Anything less than investigation and, if warranted, prosecution of major figures in the Bush administration for their involvement in torture will constitute a failure by President Obama to enforce the law and hence a betrayal of his oath of office.”

The endorsement by the Oblates comes just three months before TASSC will commemorate its 12th annual torture awareness month, highlighted by survivors week on June 26.

The event will feature a 24-hour vigil in Lafayette Park as survivors of torture from throughout the world converge on the Capital city to stand in solidarity with one another and work for an end to this degradation of humanity.

For more information on survivors week visit TASSC

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