Arnita A. Jones, Executive Director
January 13, 2006
American Historical Association adopts Resolution on the United States Government’s Abusive Policies Toward Foreign Prisoners
For Immediate Release
At its annual business meeting on January 7, 2006, members of the Association adopted the following resolution offered by Joyce Appleby (UCLA). The following day, the AHA Council voted to accept the resolution as AHA policy.
Resolution on the United States Governmentís Abusive Policies Toward Foreign Prisoners
Whereas, as professional historians, we share the special responsibility of identifying and condemning actions that violate elementary standards of human decency that have evolved over centuries and represent the common heritage of all human kind;
Whereas, the fight against terrorist attacks has encouraged our government to override the nationís long-standing adherence to the Geneva Conventions and tolerate abusive treatment of prisoners in its custody as well as open itself to charges of using rendition to send its prisoners to foreign countries where they may be tortured and maintaining secret detention centers outside our borders;
Whereas, this conduct jeopardizes the nationís profound and historic commitment to human rights; and
Whereas, the American Historical Association is committed to government openness and to the belief that public disclosure of documents relating to allegations of torture will speed the governmentís ability to track down and stop abuses;
Resolved, that the American Historical Association encourage a public debate about the legitimacy of the governmentís policies towards foreign prisoners while making clear its censure of the use of torture and affirming a commitment to the joint Congressional Resolution opposing torture signed into law by President Reagan in 1984 as well as to the United Nations Declaration and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading treatment.
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest professional historical organization in the United States, bringing together nearly 5,000 institutions and more than 14,000 individuals, including college and university faculty, public historians, independent scholars, archivists, librarians, and secondary school teachers. The Association was organized in 1884 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1889; its establishment coincided with the professionalization of history as a discipline in the United States. Over the years, the Association has changed as the discipline and profession have changed, but its central mission has remained unaltered: the advancement of historical knowledge.
To meet and address the varied needs of its members, the Association publishes the American Historical Review, the major journal of record for the historical profession in the United States, and Perspectives, the major national news monthly of the profession. The Association's annual meeting, which is held during the first week of January, is the largest annual gathering of historians in the United States.
Last Updated: July 17, 2007