ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) today issued this statement in response to the news of Vice President Walter Mondale’s passing.
“It is with heavy hearts that all of us at the Center for Victims of Torture mourn the passing of Vice President Walter F. Mondale, a man who devoted his life to public service and human rights, and whose death leaves a void of leadership, statesmanship and true compassion both in our home state of Minnesota and the larger world. He was a steadfast champion of human and civil rights at home and abroad.
“A true public servant, Mr. Mondale served as Vice President of the United States, and also as United States Ambassador to Japan, United States Senator from Minnesota and Minnesota’s Attorney General. Mr. Mondale was a close friend and strong supporter of CVT. When we created the National Advisory Council, he quickly agreed to become one of its first members, a position he actively embraced. Whether over lunches, in meetings in his office, or during phone or email conversations, he was deeply interested in CVT’s humanitarian work and human rights advocacy. He never hesitated to leverage his influence to urge action on critical human rights issues or for public support to CVT.
“Generous to a fault, Mr. Mondale gave of himself to shine a light on CVT’s mission time and again. At our annual Restoring Hope Breakfast in 2015, he declared, ‘When I think of our state, I think of the good work that is done right here on the most important issues of our time: social justice, civil rights, equality, human rights.’ He leveraged the power of his position to advance human rights, whether on behalf of an individual or to confront or advance polices which impacted human rights of thousands.
“And in 2019, in an opinion article published in The Washington Post—published to commemorate the anniversary of the Geneva Meeting on Refugees and Displaced Persons in South-East Asia—he spoke out passionately against the Trump administration’s efforts to ‘undermine or ignore U.S. laws and regulations relating to refugees and asylum seekers. A country once recognized as a respected humanitarian leader, the United States now slams the door to all but a relative few.’ His leadership resulted in the rescue of countless refugees, and as a result, many families and individuals were welcomed to Minnesota, the U.S., and countries around the world. As he noted at the close of the article, ‘As we promised in Geneva, it is time to take action: History will not forgive us if we fail. History will not forget us if we succeed.’
“The world is lesser today because of this heavy loss. But we will honor his memory by carrying his spirit with us as we continue to advocate for the rights that he so fervently believed in.” -Curt Goering, CVT executive director
The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization headquartered in St. Paul, MN, with offices in Atlanta, GA, and Washington, D.C.; and healing initiatives in Africa and the Middle East. Visit www.cvt.org.