Refugees | Page 16 | The Center for Victims of Torture

Healing and Human Rights: A Blog by the Center for Victims of Torture

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Jenni Bowring-McDonough, CVT media relations manager, comments on the critical and growing need for mental health and psychosocial support services in response to the ongoing refugee crisis.

Ben Kohler

It was in the early 1980s that Ben Kohler read about Governor Rudy Perpich’s proposal to create a center for torture survivors. “I learned about the center before it was even a center.”  He remembers reading articles and letters in the newspaper in opposition to the idea and his sense of shock. “I just couldn’t understand how anyone could oppose something so good and so needed.”  It motivated him to start supporting CVT’s work shortly after it became a reality.

Judy Twala

Judith Twala, MA, is a psychotherapist/trainer with the Center for Victims of Torture in Dadaab, Kenya. Dadaab is the world’s largest refugee camp in the northeast region of Kenya, close to the Somali border. Most refugees in this complex of camps are from Somalia with others from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries.

 

As a psychotherapist /trainer with the CVT Dadaab project, I have been interacting with war and torture survivors from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and Somalia for more than two years. Though from different mother countries, these survivors share one thing in common and that is ambiguous loss.

On World Humanitarian Day, CVT recognizes humanitarians around the world including CVT staff.

Rita Manninen, CVT volunteer client services coordinator, comments on her many years' experience as a CVT volunteer, helping survivors rebuild their lives and volunteers discover the rewards of helping in that process.

Marie Soueid, CVT legal fellow, looks at detention conditions for families seeking asylum.

A brief look back at the founding of the Center for Victims of Torture.
Zarqa Family_mother and son
In honor of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, we’re sharing this article that was originally published in our Storycloth newsletter in November 2014. Increasingly, our staff in Jordan is seeing children and young people who need mental health and physical therapy care to cope with their traumatic experiences. Now, more than a third of our clients in Jordan are under the age of 18. To help heal these young survivors, the counseling and physical therapy staff developed ten-week joint physical therapy/counseling groups that provide age-appropriate activities.
Alison Beckman
Asylum and refugee officers are making decisions that can have serious consequences. My job is to help them understand what torture survivors have experienced so that they, in turn, can be sensitive to interviewing torture survivors while making wise and informed decisions.
Many may not be ready to tell their story in front of a truth commission or international tribunal—some may never be ready. They may not even be ready to tell their story confidentially to a clinician to begin the process of healing. But if and when they are ready, the choice should be their own. The international community, governments and non-governmental organizations alike, should be there to offer support and expertise. The truth that must emerge must be the survivor’s own.

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Healing

We heal victims of torture through unique services and professional care worldwide.

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Training

We strengthen partners who heal torture survivors and work to prevent torture.

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Advocacy

We advocate for the protection & care of torture survivors and an end to torture.

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