Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kofi Annan named President of the OMCT Foundation

Kofi Annan named President of the Foundation...
Kofi Annan named President of the Foundation supporting the World Organization against Torture (OMCT)
Geneva, October 10, 2007: On October 4, 2007, Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, became the new President of the Foundation supporting the World Organization against Torture (OMCT). Kofi Annan has always demonstrated a strong commitment to human rights and has stated his total opposition to torture. In accepting to become the new President of the Foundation supporting OMCT, he expressed his wish to be actively involved in initiatives defending human rights.
Since its creation in 1986, OMCT has been engaged in fighting against torture, summary executions and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, through actions geared to prevention, information, denunciation and rehabilitation. To give a voice to victims, OMCT works with the SOS-Torture network, the largest international coalition of non-governmental organizations active in the protection of human rights, with 282 affiliated members in 92 countries. Thanks to this unique network, OMCT maintains permanent contact with the field and is immediately informed of any human rights violations. It then makes public the facts and denounces the perpetrators via its urgent interventions, disseminated to a large audience worldwide.
Each and every case is indeed unique and of crucial importance. As Kofi Annan emphasizes, “we must not forget that it always starts with mistreatment of one person, torture of one person, lack of respect of the rights of one individual”. These individual violations open the door to the escalation of abuses, which may lead to the unthinkable such as genocides and other large scale human rights violations.
Unfortunately this is even more relevant today, since we are facing what Kofi Annan calls “the erosion of respect for human rights and the norms that we all treasure”. He explains that, “An increasing number of governments tend to believe that there is a tradeoff between effective action against terrorism and security on the one hand, and human rights and individual civil liberties on the other. But no such tradeoff can be allowed”. Kofi Annan underlines the importance of “the power of people who are becoming increasingly aware of their rights, and this is one of the biggest weapons we have. Transparency, openness and debate about rights, and the social shifts brought about by technology and open communication are very powerful tools – and leaders are being forced to be responsive to them.”
It is in order to promote this movement, to contribute to the growth of public awareness and to encourage OMCT’s work in the fight against torture and other human rights abuses that Kofi Annan has accepted to become President of the Foundation supporting OMCT. He emphasizes that he wishes his role to be an active one. In particular, he will engage in raising the profile of OMCT and in fundraising to increase the Foundation’s capital with a view to enhancing OMCT’s capacity to protect and promote human rights around the world.

For additional information, please contact:Isabelle Vila, Tel: +4122 809 52 40, Email: iv@omct.orgVisit our website at

OMCT International Secretariat
PO Box 218, rue du Vieux-BillardCH-1211
Geneva 8Switzerland
Phone: + 41 22 809 4939Fax: + 41 22 809 4929

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