International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Compiled by Palina Prasasouk 

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 and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, (resolution 39/46), annex, which entered into force on 26 June 1987.

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                                                                      Photo by Erica Miller

Saratoga Springs, New York — Veterans for Peace member Joe Kulin, who served in the military from 1962 to 1964, led “prisoners” throughout downtown Saratoga Springs Wednesday as part of a protest calling for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.


Portland, Oregon — The Portland group including solidarity long-term faster, S. Brian Willson have been holding vigils outside Portland City Hall during rush hour. On June 26 they performed force-feeding street theatre. Videos can be viewed here provided from Jacob Dean through Filter Free Radio.


                                                                  Photo by Mary Dean

Chicago — Outside of Obama’s house, the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo where a man repeatedly drove by pointing a finger gun and yelling such rhetoric as, “They should all die.” Later in the evening members of Witness Against Torture joined Amnesty International for a summer concert on human rights with a table on Guantanamo and projection of actions from WAT. The crowd also learned Hunger Strike Song from the Peace Poets. Photos of the concert from Palina Prasasouk here.
In addition to Wednesdays action the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo also held protests on Saturday on Michigan Ave. Photos courtesy of FJJ.






London Guantanamo Campaign 
Two rallies were held in London’s Trafalgar Square on 26 June to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, one by the Baluch community and one by the LGC. More photos here and here. LGC newsletter.




Photo by Steve Rhoads

 San Francisco — Codepink

                                                       Photo by Matthew Daloisio

Washington DC —  Alliances from Veterans for Peace, Witness Against Torture, and Codepink gathered in front of the White House with the names of the 86 detainees cleared for release. Among them are solidarity hunger striker, former Army medic, member of VFP and co-founder of Codepink on her 57th day of fast. Tighe Barry of Codepink performs a force-feeding to create a diversion, with the help of two other protesters she climbs onto the other side of the fence. She then lays down on the ground to show she is not a threat and then taken into custody. She broke her fast on the following day. Twenty-three other protesters were arrested in front of The White House. Elliot Adams (solidarity hunger striker) and Medea Benjamin (co-founder of Code Pink and most recently recognized for heckling Obama during his Homeland Security speech) were both detained at the scene and later released.
Photos courtesy of:

Diane climbing the fence. Video courtesy of Telesur

Interview with Diane before the action Video Interview courtesy of  Andrés Thomas Conteris
Arrests at The White House by Bill Hughes and interviews.
Videos from Popular Resistance

Photo courtesy of Charles Deharapak. 86 names of the cleared for release on The White House lawn.

In addition to protests and vigils the city of Northhampton passes resolution condemning Guantanamo Bay.


“The City of Northampton went on record to oppose the continued operation of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. In the final reading of the “Resolution Calling for Justice in Guantánamo Bay”, the City Council voted 7-1 that it “opposes the continued existence of the Guantánamo Bay detention center and the violation of rule of law that it represents, and calls for all its prisoners to be charged or released.”

Please contact Jeff Napolitano (AFSC of Western Mass.) or Nancy Talanian [email protected] of No More Guantanamos if your local group wants to ask your city council or town meeting to pass such a resolution.

The resolution was introduced by Councilor Owen Freeman-Daniels, and in part written by the American Friends Service Committee and local activist Nancy Talanian, a founder of the “No More Gitmos” group.

Originally introduced on Thursday, June 20, the resolution was spoken of by Northampton resident Paki Wieland. On Tuesday, Ms. Wieland was arrested in Washington D.C. at a broad act of civil disobedience protesting the continued existence of the prison. Ms. Wieland concurred with City Councilor President Bill Dwight’s description of the facility as an “obscenity” that stains the character of the United States.

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GTMO has been open:

U.S. Hunger Strikers

Hunger Striker's Blog

 U.S. Faster in Solidarity w/Gitmo & Pelican Bay Prisoners


Foreground: EMT prepares the tool for the nasal intubation.       Background: U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Argentina Middleground:...agony awaits. 

The feeding demo is extremely painful, yet it is done with consent. The long-term solidarity fast continues with nasogastric nourishment in front of U.S. governmental symbols of power. The twice-daily force-feeding of Gitmo hunger strikers is nonconsensual and therefore real torture by the standards sponsored by U.S. taxpayers and authorized by members of Congress who just raised the debt ceiling to nearly $17 trillion. President Obama's actions continue to belie his empty words "Close Guantánamo."  As Commander-in-Chief, he could easily order an end to what the Pentagon refuses to call "forced-feeding."   The force-feeding is premeditated  relentless forced penetration of plastic into their innermost sacred cavities !

Andrés Thomas Conteris - fasted on water and coconut water with vitamin and electrolyte supplements. Solidarity fast began July 8, 2013 with 30,000 hunger striking California prisoners urging fulfillment of 5 Core Demands of the Pelican Bay supermax prisoners.  Force-feeding protests began Sept. 6 & Sept. 25 in front of the White House & later in front of the Oakland Office of CA Dept of Corrections and Rehab (CDCR) to depict how prisoners in Guantánamo are tortured with force-feeding twice-daily and how CA prisoners as future hunger strikers have been threatened with a court order authorizing force-feeding.  On Oct 4 and Oct 8 he was tube-fed in front of the U.S. Embassies in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Oct 15 a similar protest took place in Santiago, Chile.  On Friday, Oct 18 the feeding protest returns to Washington, DC outside a Federal Court hearing on the lawsuit challenging force-feeding in Guantánamo.  He is now on a maintenance fast losing about 1 pound per week, unlike the 5 pounds/week the first 11 weeks.  In January 2014 with the anniversary of Guantánamo on Jan. 11, the force feeding protests will recommence.  Please spread the word. 

Join a Rolling Fast

U.S. Hunger Strikers who have suspended their fast






Diane Wilson - Water only 58 days (lost 48 lbs). Diane, co-founder of CodePink and member of Veterans for Peace, suspended her hunger strike on June 27, 2013 after detention following her arrest for scaling the White House fence the day before. She faced a jury trial in DC District Court on Sept. 5th, 2013.


S. Brian Willson - Suspended Hunger Strike on June 10, 2013 after 31 days on 300cal/day, when a car accidentally hit him. Supporters continue a vigil with a rolling fast, in Portland, OR.



Elliott Adams - Went 80 days on 300 cal/day from May 18, to August 4, 2013 losing 45 lbs.   He is past President of Veterans for Peace.







Tarak Kauff - Ended fast on August 4, 2013 after 58 days on 300 cal/day since June 7.  He lost 29 lbs. On Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace.


Cynthia Papermaster - After 84 days on 300 cal/day, Cynthia suspended her  hunger strike on Sep. 6 which began June 15, 2013. Code Pink member,  lost 35 lbs. The transfer of two Algerian prisoners on Aug. 29, 2013, inspired her to suspend her fast. 

Collaborative of Organizations

Arlington West Santa Monica

- Campaign for Alternatives to

   Isolated Confinement - NY

Close Guantá

Code Pink

Global Exchange

- Fast for the Earth

- The Jericho Movement

The Justice Campaign

The London Guantánamo


Meta Peace Team: "Pursuing peace

   through active nonviolence"

- Metta Center for Nonviolence


No more Guantánamos

Nonviolence International

Nuremberg Actions

Office of the Americas

Peaceworkers USA

Save Shaker

Stop Mass Incarceration

Witness Against Torture

The World Can't Wait

Veterans for Peace

Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

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