June 26 | Center for Victims of Torture

June 26

June 26 is recognized internationally as United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day in 1987, the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment went into effect.  Every year, CVT commemorates the day with special events to recommit ourselves to heal survivors and end torture.

26 June 2018

Ethiopia

CVT Ethiopia commemorated the day with several activities in the two refugee camps where we have healing centers. In both camps, there were Q&A sessions with the community to raise awareness and lower stigma for survivors of torture, as well as speeches, food, drama skits and dancing. The May Ayni camp hosted a men vs. women foot race, and the women won! Adi-Harush hosted a candlelight vigil honoring survivors the day before. Approximately 300 people attended the vigil, even though it rained.

Photo: Candlelight vigil at the Adi Harush camp in northern Ethiopia

Jordan

This June 26, CVT Jordan staff from various teams (clinical team, operation, programs) came together to commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The team started their day with a surprise: a small bouquet of flowers and an appreciation letter from CVT management expressing gratitude for the team's commitment and hard work. The Jordan team was invited to a group lunch by CVT as a thank-you for being part of the CVT family and to celebrate an important anniversary: CVT Jordan’s 10th anniversary of working and providing hope for survivors in Jordan! After lunch, the team shared their messages in Support of victims of torture through team group photos.

Photo, from left: CVT psychotherapist/trainer Mohammad Taha Bny Salameh; psychosocial counselor Qais Al-Zaareer, physiotherapist Ahmad Al-Taj; data entry assistant Yazan AlKout; associate physiotherapist/trainer Mohammad Abu Yaman; senior psychosocial counselor Fatemh Alhaj. "Every Survivor Has a Right To Rehabilitation”

Kenya

CVT’s three locations in Kenya – Dadaab, Kakuma and Nairobi – exceed their anticipated turnout of 600 people combined for 26 June! Participants performed dances, songs, music, poems and drama skits. Dadaab and Kakuma teams also engaged local radio stations, so part of the events were broadcasted to the local host community and broader public. UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, acknowledged the significance and strength of CVT's work.  

Photo: 26 June celebration in Kakuma

Uganda

CVT Uganda joined other civil society organizations to participate in Gulu's annual 26 June celebration. On June 19 (on Radio Rupiny) and on June 23 (on Radio Mega) CVT Uganda's psychosocial counselor (PSC), Ben Lakony, participated in radio talk shows organized to raise awareness about 26 June and to publicly oppose torture. On June 26 there was a march/parade through Gulu that culminated in a variety of activities, including speeches about torture, traditional dances, drama skits and testimonies from survivors of torture.

Photo: Road near CVT Uganda

United States

Atlanta

Families from the Congolese community attended CVT Atlanta's June 26 event, and a Swahili interpreter provided interpretation. Parents and children gathered inside in front of the fireplace where the television broadcast the World Cup matches. Adaobi Iheduru, Psy.D., LP, psychotherapist & team lead, provided a short welcome statement emphasizing the importance of recognizing June 26, and thanked clients for trusting CVT with their stories and taking time to attend the event. Then CVT Atlatna staff and volunteers served food and drinks to clients. There was a wide selection of food, including sambusa, injera, lentils, rice, and chicken. Clients were served Refuge Coffee and different types of tea. Children were entertained by CVT staff and volunteers by with indoor and outdoor games like Uno, Patty Cake, hula hoops, checkers and cards. Clients expressed that they enjoyed the time, although it was brief, and appreciated being honored and getting to watch the World Cup.

Photo: CVT Atlanta

St. Paul

In Minnesota, CVT commemorated the day with a celebration at the St. Paul Healing Center to honor the courage, strength and resilience of the survivors we serve. CVT clients, staff and community friends gathered together to express support, demonstrate our solidarity with all torture survivors around the world and reaffirm our commitment to work for the end of torture worldwide. Guests enjoyed food from many of the countries our clients call home, and a short program with remarks from a former client and a CVT clinician. Valued community partner, Steve Ruce, owner and founder of Heliotrope Garden Design firm, received the Healing Connections Award for his 25 years of service to CVT clients. 

Photo: An attendee at the CVT St. Paul Healing Center's June 26 celebration, wearing a bracelet in the CVT colors.

Washington, D.C. 

At a June 26 reception held in Washington, D.C., CVT presented its annual Eclipse Award to Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), in recognition of 20 years of tireless efforts to end torture worldwide and support survivors. The award is presented each year to an individual or organization that has played a crucial role in ending torture or in extending care and rehabilitation to torture survivors. Léonce Byimana, TASSC executive director and a clinical psychologist who holds an MPH, accepted the Eclipse Award on TASSC's behalf.

Photo: Tom Williams capturesTASSC executive director, Léonce Byimana, accepting the Eclipse.

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