Current work

Q-CAT’s work has several strands                                                                                       * see Main Menu

Keeping people informed

a)     We have two series, Newsletters and Briefings, which alternate at approximately six-weekly intervals.  If you wish to be added to our emailing list to receive these direct, please contact

The *Newsletters usually have a round-up of recent press or website articles on subjects related to torture, news about recent and forthcoming events, and sometimes longer articles about current issues.

  • The most recent, No 43 for March 2021, includes Update: Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill ; Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct Bill); Syrians convicted ~  “Detention of asylum seekers -at home and abroad. The next Newsletter is due out in June 2021.

The *Briefings are longer, more in-depth papers on relevant matters of interest.

  • The most recent, No 68 for April 2021, is titled Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Asylum-seekers and Refugees:  a British Tradition. It has a Stop Press update referring to Priti Patel’s disastrous plans for reform of the asylum system.   The next Briefing is due out in mid-July 2021.

b)     *the Friend

We also post material on torture which has appeared in the Friend, the Quaker weekly publication.

*Events – see also Events page
Singing about torture: “A Knock on the Door”

Q-CAT has commissioned a short musical work “A Knock on the Door” written especially for amateur choirs and small groups. Its protagonists are an abusing interrogator and a prisoner. Sally Beamish, who is a well-known composer and a Quaker, and Peter Thomson, librettist, are between them producing the most amazing piece. Our future hope is that small choirs, Quaker local meetings, area meetings and other groups, might come together to rehearse and sing it. It could even become a community effort, with a small concert at the end. It should be enjoyable to do, as well bringing people together in a united effort and raising awareness of this problem in a way that is not traumatic but memorable. It is a protest about oppression and a witness to the resilience of the human spirit.

The plan is that the premiere will be in 2022, probably in Birmingham during the Commonwealth Games. Information about how groups can access the music will be available in due course, so “watch this space”. In the meanwhile Q-CAT is fundraising to cover upfront costs. The Appeal Leaflet has been sent to Quaker local meetings and can be found here at Get Informed. There has also been an article about this in the Friend which can also be found at Get Informed.

Holding the Government to account

For example, we have written to the Secretary of State for Defence enquiring what guidance is available to British military personnel who think they may have received an order contravening British or international law.

We are in correspondence with the Ministry of Defence, protesting against the Overseas Operations (Services Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which would in effect create immunity for any acts of torture undertaken by UK personnel that took place more than five years ago. We have also sent a submission to the parliamentary Committee on Human Rights on the subject and responded to John Healey, Labour Shadow Defence Secretary’s request for support for opposition to the Bill.  We circulated the draft of a letter for our supporters to send to their MP. (See Newsletters No 40 June 2020 and No 41 September 2020)

Working with other bodies which focus on torture

At a national level we are discussing how to develop partnership working and will post details when they are available.  Locally we encourage joint action and projects by Quaker meetings with other bodies such as branches of Amnesty International, Freedom from Torture and local peace groups.

Developing our register of contacts

Q-CAT welcomes feedback on our Newsletters and Briefings and invites Quakers and non-Quakers to register to receive them.  If you wish to be added to our emailing list please contact

Encouraging interested people to become involved

Q-CAT has opportunities for people to volunteer for the Concern (e.g. trustee roles, website support, research and writing on torture, running local meetings and events and we welcome suggestions for other work).  Please contact our convenor, Juliet Morton, if you are interested.