October 20, 2000
On October 18th Amnesty International, the world's largest human rights organization, launched a global campaign to stop torture with a Bi-national Observance at Border Field State Park in San Ysidro and Playa de Tijuana, Mexico. New research on torture practices around the world and a fast-response Internet action network to protest torture marked the beginning of the year-long campaign.
Amnesty International's new report, "Torture Worldwide: An Affront to Human Dignity," based on research of 195 countries and territories from 1997 to mid-2000, examines torture and ill-treatment by police, in prisons, and in armed conflict as well as judicial corporal punishment. The report reveals that torture remains one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world.
The launched event at Border Field State Park, San Ysidro and Playa de Tijuana, Mexico will be one of a series of global events aimed at drawing attention to Amnesty International's campaign and new Internet-based system called FAST (Fast Action Stops Torture), which promotes rapid response to threats of torture.
As soon as Amnesty International hears about an imminent threat of torture, FAST will instantly send out an alarm to its network of activists around the globe. Cell phones will ring, pagers buzz and computers chime, instructing activists by the thousands to sign electronic letters of protest. Within hours, the threat of torture will be exposed. Once exposed, it is nearly impossible to carry out. Attendees at the event were invited to sign onto FAST at http://www.amnesty-usa.org/stoptorture/fast/fastindex.html .
Also at the event, Amnesty International will designate a "Torture-Free Zone" on both sides of the border. In addition, the event highlighted the works of artists M-Artes (Mujeres en Arte/Women in Art), whose paintings were created specifically for the Campaign Against Torture. The paintings will be featured at the Galeria de la Ciudad, Antiguo Palacio Municipal de Tijuana (City Gallery, Old Municipal Palace of Tijuana).