History

  • 1973

    Eric Baker, a British Friend who had been involved from the early days of Amnesty International in 1962. organised a conference on torture in Paris following the publication of Amnesty’s first Report on TortureEric Baker, a British Friend who had been involved from the early days of Amnesty International in 1962. organised a conference on torture in Paris following the publication of Amnesty’s first Report on Torture

  • 1974

    Eric Baker addressed Yearly Meeting at York on the contagion of torture.

    Can torture ever be justified? Once chattel slavery was considered an economic and social necessity; nevertheless it has now been abolished in most regions of the world. This has happened at least in part because of the revulsion which this offence to human dignity aroused. Should not torture arouse the same revulsion?… [Documents in advance of Yearly Meeting 1974]

  • 1976

    After Eric Baker’s untimely death a world gathering of Friends in Canada responded to the concern, commending it for all friends in the Hamilton Declaration.
    The Religious Society of Friends declares itself to be utterly opposed to the use of torture and determined to spare no effort to bring it to an end.
    It is a matter of grave anxiety that torture and secret imprisonment are being used by many governments, anti-government groups, and others to extract information, to suppress criticism, and to intimidate opposition, so that throughout the world countless numbers of men, women and children are suffering inhuman treatment.
    We believe in the worth of every individual as a child of God, and that no circumstances whatsoever can justify practices intended to break bodies, minds and spirits.
    Both tortured and torturer are victims of the evil from which no human being is immune.  Friends, however, believe that the life and power of God are greater than evil, and in that life and power declare their opposition to all torture.  The Society calls on all its members, as well as those of all religious and other organisations, to create a force of public opinion which will oblige those responsible to dismantle everywhere the administrative apparatus which permits or encourages torture, and to observe effectively those international agreements under which its use is strictly forbidden.

  • 1984

    Action by Christians Against Torture UK founded with the support of Amnesty International, the British Council of Churches and Friends.

  • 1994

    Quaker Abolition of Torture Group ended.

  • 1999

    First Quaker Statement on Torture issued: Torture is a profound evil, causing unimaginable human suffering and corrupting the spiritual and political life of the human family.  British Quakers re-commit themselves, and wish to encourage other people of faith, to work for its eradication worldwide…(download document)

  • 2001

    Yearly Meeting, Exeter: special interest group with Brian Phillips (Canadian Quaker serving with Amnesty International in Bosnia).

  • 2004

    Three Monthly (Area) Meetings (Wirral and Chester, North Wales and Bristol and Frenchay) were authorised to take up the concern on behalf of the Yearly Meeting. This led, by 2007, to the formation of a Charity to take the concern forward – Q-CAT.

  • 2005

    Yearly Meeting York: special interest group.

  • 2007

    • Second Quaker Statement on Torture (download document)
    • QPSW Swanwick Conference workshop
    • First Q-CAT Friends House conference: Abolish Torture: what can Friends do? Speakers: Craig Murray, Helen Bamber, Roy Jenkins, Malcolm Evans, Juliet Morton
  • 2008

    Yearly Meeting London: special interest group with Chuck Fager (US activist)

  • 2009

    • Second Q-CAT Friends House conference: Torture – Strictly Forbidden? Speakers: Nigel Rodley (former UN Rapporteur on torture), Moazzam Begg (former Guantanamo detainee), Justin Welby (former director of Centre for Reconciliation, Coventry Cathedral), Sheila Hayman (co-ordinator, Write to Life)
    • Yearly Meeting Gathering York: Themed option with Mary Raphaely of the Natural Growth Project of the Medical Foundation (London) and special interest group.
  • 2010

    Q-CAT Seminar at Woodbrooke Ending Torture: the next steps – with Maria Downs, clinical psychologist at the Medical Foundation (Birmingham)

  • 2011

    • Meeting for Sufferings authorised Q-CAT to arrange round-table conference with faith leaders and others.
    • Yearly Meeting Gathering, Canterbury: special interest group.
  • 2012

    • Presentation to joint North Wales and Wirral & Chester AMs with Joanne Adams, senior counsellor at Freedom from Torture (Birmingham).
    • Yearly Meeting London: special interest group with Andy Branch, QPSW peace-worker working with Freedom from Torture.
    • World Without Torture – themed garden at Royal Horticultural Society Show, Tatton Park.  Part of the garden subsequently relocated to Woodbrooke.
  • 2013

    Presentations to group from ACAT (France) in Birmingham and to Freedom from Torture, West Midlands at Woodbrooke

  • 2014

    • First three Q-CAT workshops Britain and Torture: 10 Questions to get us thinking (sometimes called Quakers and Torture…), including one at Yearly Meeting Gathering, Bath.
    • Bristol AM lays down its commitment as one of the three AMs upholding the Concern. Central England AM takes it up.
  • 2015

    • Q-CAT Trustees’ presentation to Meeting for Sufferings.
    • Yearly Meeting,London: “10 Questions” workshop as a special interest group.
  • 2016

    Yearly Meeting London: first performance of Feeding the Darkness – shining a light on State Sanctioned Torture through Story, Poem and Song” by Journeymen Theatre, commissioned by Q-CAT.  Thereafter the production will tour to Quaker and non-Quaker meetings.