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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
DANTE B. FASCELL, Florida, Chairman LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana
WILLIAM S. BROOMFIELD, Michigan GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania
LARRY WINN, JR., Kansas STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York DON BONKER, Washington
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California GERRY E. STUDDS, Massachusetts
JOEL PRITCHARD, Washington ANDY IRELAND, Florida
JIM LEACH, Iowa DAN MICA, Florida
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin MICHAEL D. BARNES, Maryland
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine HOWARD WOLPE, Michigan
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois GEO. W. CROCKETT, JR., Michigan
GERALD B. H. SOLOMON, New York SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
DOUGLAS K. BEREUTER, Nebraska MERVYN M. DYMALLY, California
MARK D. SILJANDER, Michigan
ED ZSCHAU, California
JOHN J. BRADY, Jr., Chief of Staff
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania, Chairman DON BONKER, Washington
JIM LEACH, Iowa MEL LEVINE, California
ED ZSCHAU, California TED WEISS, New York
GERALD B. H. SOLOMON, New York
Mark J. TAVLARIDES, Subcommittee Staff Director
John G. Healey, executive director, Amnesty International, U.S.A.; ac-
Thursday, September 6, 1984 (full committee markup; no witnesses)...
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD
THE PHENOMENON OF TORTURE
TUESDAY, MAY 15, 1984
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met at 2:13 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Gus Yatron (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. YATRON. Today's hearing is the first of a two-part series investigating the phenomenon of torture. Before we begin, I would like to thank Amnesty International for helping us coordinate these very worthwhile hearings. I also want to welcome the esteemed representatives of the other human rights groups who are contributing their expertise to this forum.
But most of all, I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to those brave victims of torture who have traveled long distances to share their own painful experiences with us. We are anxious to hear your testimony and to assist you in your fight to eradicate this universal tragedy, torture. Millions of individuals throughout the world experience acts of cruelty too brutal to imagine. They are victimized by their governments—the very institution which should protect them.
In addition to the inhumanities these people have to endure, they must endure yet another obstacle: The unwillingness on the part of well-meaning people outside of their governments to look at or listen to their story. Seeing proof of torture is too difficult for many to face, but face it we must. We Americans have much to learn about the atrocities other governments are leveling at their citizens.
In order for us to take action to combat and eventually to abolish torture, we must first understand it. We must look at where torture is being practiced, who is practicing it, and what can be done to stop it.
Our condemnation, then, should be voiced to all of the perpetrators, whether they are our friends or our adversaries. The purpose of this first hearing is to define and examine torture, to listen to those who have suffered extreme abuse, and to recognize the international instruments available to combat torture. Let us look very closely at what we see here today and not turn away if the sight becomes discomforting. We in the United States have been spared the endless agony torture victims throughout the world are realiz
ing, but we have not been spared the responsibility of fighting against the injustice.
Torture is a brutal and powerful enemy. Perhaps the distinguished witnesses before us today can teach us how we can combat, and ultimately defeat, this horrifying practice. Due to the large number of witnesses we have before us today, we are asking all witnesses to keep their statements to no longer than 5 minutes so that we may have some time for questions.
Our first witness today is Mr. John Healey, executive director of Amnesty International, U.S.A. Mr. Healey, we welcome you and all of the other distinguished witnesses to the subcommittee today.
We are also very privileged to have with us at our hearing today, the distingished chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Dante Fascell. At this time, I would like to yield to the chairman for some comments.
Chairman FASCELL. Thank you very much, Mr. Yatron. Mr. Solomon, I appreciate your allowing me to sit in on these hearings. These hearings are of great interest to those of us on the Foreign Affairs Committee. I'm privileged to join you in welcoming these witnesses here today, and also to express my appreciation to them individually and the organizations they represent for the continuing work they do on this entire subject of torture and human rights and man's inhumanity to man.
I find it almost beyond understanding but have to face the reality of the fact that such brutality exists in the world. It appears to me to be endemic in all societies. In some cases it seems to be a simple attitude problem. But in other cases, expressing dissent or having a difference of opinion makes the individual who may have some authority decide that the easiest manner to deal with the problem is either by shooting or by torturing. But nevertheless, the struggle against inhumanity is continuous. Without the individuals who will be testifying and their organizations, I'm afraid the issue of torture and brutality would be relegated to a shrug of acceptability which should not be acceptable in any society; and certainly should not be by us. Therefore we attach a great deal of importance to making this record; to the continuation of the struggle for sensitivity awareness; and for trying to improve the quality of life.
Mr. YATRON. I want to thank the distinguished chairman for being here today and also for giving us his support. And at this time, I'd like to call on the gentleman from New York, Mr. Solomon. Do you have an opening statement?
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Chairman, we have a long day ahead of us, and I'd just like to concur with your remarks and those of our chairman and commend you for holding these hearings.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Solomon.
Mr. Healey, will you please proceed with your statement? And let me say, welcome to you and all the others. STATEMENT OF JOHN G. HEALEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AM
NESTY INTERNATIONAL, U.S.A., ACCOMPANIED BY LARRY COX, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Mr. HEALEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My deputy, Larry Cox, and I represent the family of Amnesty International, 500,000 vol