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The UN declared 26th of June the United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture. To honor these victims and their families, International Bridges to Justice brought together members of every faith at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland to light a candle and say a prayer for the end of torture in our lifetime.

Religious leaders, country representatives, and members of the Geneva community came together to stand in solidarity with International Bridges to Justice and the efforts of our JusticeMakers and Fellows around the world working to enact justice for all accused.

Guests gather at the World Council of Churches' Chapel

Guests gather at the World Council of Churches’ Chapel

 

Michael French

Michael French conducts the welcoming

 

Reverend  Richard Gyhra representing the Holy See (Vatican) Embassy

Reverend Richard Gyhra representative from the Holy See Mission to the United Nations in Geneva

“We also pray for a change of heart of the perpetrators of torture, because we want what is good, what is true, and what is just.”

-Rev. Richard Gyhra

Reverend John Beach, Rector of Emmanuel Church in Geneva

Reverend John Beach, Rector of Emmanuel Church in Geneva

“We give thanks to you, for those who defend human rights and the various people who work with determination and faithfulness for the care of  all victims of violence. Let us never make peace with despair.”

-Reverend John Beach

Vuillemin Vincent Keisen from the Zen Dojo of Geneva

Vuillemin Vincent Keisen from the Zen Dojo of Geneva

“As numerous are the sentient beings, we make the vow to save them all.”

-Vuillemin Vincent Keisen

Dr. Rama Mani offering a chant for peace

Dr. Rama Mani offering a chant for peace

“I ask us to prayer for all the torturers around the world.  May their shuttered hearts be blown open by the power of love. May they rediscover their humanity, so they can begin the long journey to undo their harm and to sow the seeds of love.”

-Dr. Rama Mani

Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan, Grand Rabbai of Geneva

Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan, Grand Rabbai of Geneva

“Our leaders today must learn that abusing weak and helpless prisoners compromises our ideals and diminishes rather than enhances our power”

-Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan

Faramarz Falahi and Ramin Granfar offer words of solace from the Baha'i faith

Faramarz Falahi and Ramin Granfar

Faramarz Falahi quoted Kitab-i-Aqdas who spoke of the human condition in regards to the Baha’i faith:

«l’importance de la valeur des êtres humains, de l’importance de la coexistence paçifique , de la coopération et du soutien mutuel, sans discrimination, haine, hostilité et préjugés religieuses aveugles »

“the importance of the value of human beings, the importance of peaceful coexistence, cooperation and mutual support, without discrimination, hatred, hostility and blind religious prejudice”

 

Representatives from the Al-Hakim Foundation offering words of peace from the Islamic faith

Amir Hashom and Sayed Salih Al-Hakim from the Al-Hakim Foundation

 

Sayed Salih Al-Hakim

Sayed Salih Al-Hakim

Sayed Salih Al-Hakim, Director of the Dialogue Center “Al-Hikma,” in Najaf, Iraq, offered a prayer for a commitment to peace from every faith.

 

Three Tibetan Monks Othok Rinpoche, Geshi Luntok, and Geshi Gedun from the Shedrub Choekhor Ling Monastery and Buddhist Center in Mont Salève offering a chant

Geshi Luntok, Geshi Gedun, and Othok Rinpoche, from the Shedrub Choekhor Ling Monastery and Buddhist Center in Mont Salève offering a chant

 

Othok Rinpoche

Othok Rinpoche

“Je prie et je souhaite le monde de vient une famille, et comme une famille, et pour ça on a tous la responsabilité de faire ce qu’on peut.”

“I pray and I hope the world becomes a family; we all have the responsibility of doing what we can for our family.”

-Othok Rinpoche

Founder and CEO of IBJ, Karen Tse reads "May We Be Reminded Here"

Founder and CEO of IBJ, Karen Tse

“We are at a time in history where standing on the side of righteousness says we will stand with everyone. We will stand because no one should be tortured.”

-Karen Tse

The IBJ Choir leads the singing of Word of Justice with Patty Solomon

The IBJ Choir leads the singing of Word of Justice with Patty Solomon

 

Sanda Freeman leads Dona Nobis Pacem

Sanda Freeman leads Dona Nobis Pacem

 

Guests were invited to light a candle

Guests were invited to light a candle

 

Karen Tse and Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan each take a candle

Karen Tse and Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan

 

Maria Teresa Avila Shogetsu, Vuillemin Vincent Keisen, and Reverend Richard Gyhra

Maria Teresa Avila Shogetsu, Vuillemin Vincent Keisen, and Reverend Richard Gyhra

 

Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan, Maria Teresa Avila Shogetsu, and Vuillemin Vincent Keisen

Rav Dr. Izhak Dayan, Maria Teresa Avila Shogetsu, and Vuillemin Vincent Keisen

 

Reverend Beth Linguri offers a moment of reflection

Reverend Beth Linguri closes with a moment of reflection

“We bring this energy of love and surround them with this light. This brings peace and justice and the qualities of love into those places where there appears to be separation, where there appears to be injustice.”

-Rev. Beth Linguri

Group photo after the Vigil

Esteemed guests and IBJ staff gather together after the Vigil

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