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AAA Calls on Trump Administration to Condemn Torture

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January 25, 2017

AAA Calls on Trump Administration to Condemn Torture

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) today reaffirmed its condemnation of torture and called on the incoming U.S. administration to fully implement its absolute prohibition, without exception, along with other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In addition, the Association requested the U.S. administration ensure that all acts of torture are considered offenses under Federal criminal law, acknowledge that such acts constitute serious violations of international human rights law, and are labeled crimes against humanity.

“We have and will continue to vigorously oppose any use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” said AAA President Alisse Waterston. “As a professional organization of anthropologists, the AAA has a long‐standing commitment to basic human rights, including its position against torture. We have an ethical responsibility to protest such deprivation wherever it takes place, especially if implemented by the United States.”

Torture has been documented in many places around the world, including the United States where an estimated 1.4 million survivors suffer from long‐term problems. 

The statement condemning torture, drafted by the AAA Committee for Human Rights (CfHR) and approved by the Association’s officers, also called on the U.S. administration to not punish government or military personnel for disobeying orders to commit acts of torture, and to protect anthropologists and other medical personnel in their roles documenting and treating victims of such acts. [CfHR has more in-depth commentary posted in Anthropology News Online]

The AAA has a long history in supporting human rights, including issuing human rights resolutions in 1947 and 1999. The current call to condemn torture also aligns with the AAA’s 2012 Ethical Statement calling upon all Association members to respect the inherent dignity and worth of the individual and strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights recognizing the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. 

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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.

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