Torture is not a thing of the past but is regularly inflicted in more than half the countries of the world today, according to an international Christian organization representing more than 30,000 people around the world campaigning against torture.

The International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FI.ACAT) links 28 national "ACATs" around the world. The movement is particularly strong in France, where the first ACAT was founded by two Protestant women after Amnesty International held the world's first international conference against torture in Paris in 1973. Twenty-seven other countries now have ACATs, including 12 in Africa. The world's newest ACATs have been recently set up in the Czech Republic and Haiti. All are autonomous organizations, with the federation, based in Paris, playing an information and co-ordination role.

Patrick Byrne, a Scottish-born translator based in Luxembourg who is president of FI.ACAT, told ENI in an interview at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva on March 23 that his organization believed that churches should be doing more to fight torture. As its contribution to Amnesty International's campaign against torture, launched last October, FI.ACAT is inviting "all Christian churches to reiterate their condemnation of torture and all inhuman or degrading treatment, and to renew their commitment to their abolition."

FI.ACAT has published a 100-page booklet, Hope in the Darkest Night, in English and French to assist congregations during the campaign. The booklet mentions specific cases of torture in six countries—Iran, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Kenya and Hungary—and includes a prayer about what is arguably history's most famous example of torture—inflicted ...

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