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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Honoring the Victims-The U.S. Response to Torture

Briefing: Honoring the Victims- The U.S. Response to Torture
Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 11:00am
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on torture, in commemoration of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Torture is a war crime and a crime against humanity and is absolutely prohibited under any circumstances under international law.  Article 2 (2) of the U.N. Convention Against Torture states, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” 

However, the scourge of torture remains widespread in the world.  In their most recent annual report, Amnesty International identified more than 122 countries that tortured, or otherwise maltreated people in 2015.  In a recent report, the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs documented torture in 125 countries and in all five major regions of the world, based on the testimonies of torture survivors in the United States

This briefing will examine torture’s prevalence around the world, review the legal framework and role of the U.N. Committee against Torture in enforced compliance with the Convention, and provide recommendations for Congress regarding funding and support for rehabilitation programs.     

The briefing will be open to members of Congress, Congressional staff, the interested public and the media. For any questions, please contact David Howell (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or or Isaac Six (for Rep. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
    Written remarks


  • Mr. Claudio Grossman, Dean, American University Washington College of Law
  • Ms. Ann Willhoite, International Clinical Advisor, Center for Victims of Torture
  • Ms. Lin Piwowarczyk, M.D., M.P.H., President, National Consortium for Torture Treatment Programs
  • Mr. Merga Gelgelo, Torture Survivor, Ethiopia


  • Andrea Barron, Advocacy Consultant, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International


114th Congress