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United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture

Last updated: July 21, 2023
A panel of CVT staff.

The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is a lifeline to over 200 torture survivor rehabilitation centers worldwide, including more than 30 programs in the United States. But the Fund, which depends on international voluntary contributions, has an ongoing need to maintain and increase donations.

Back in 2012, alarmed by a decrease in contributions and aware of the impact this would have on torture survivor centers globally, CVT, in conjunction with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, sponsored a Capitol Hill briefing to highlight the Fund’s important work. The briefing focused on its vital support to torture survivor centers in the United States

Congressional staff, U.S. government agency personnel and members of the human rights community attended the briefing, which was held the week of June 26, United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, to raise awareness and build support for the Fund.

Panelists for the 2012 briefing Included:

  • Curt Goering, Executive Director, The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Dr. Morad El-Shazly, a member of the Fund’s Board of Trustees
  • Ennio Boati, an official with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Pankti Bhatt, Director of Legal Services, at the Center for Survivors of Torture in Texas
  • Suresh Pokhrel, Center for Survivors of Torture client and torture survivor from Nepal
  • Ann Marie Winter, Programs Administrator, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services in Florida
  • Pedro Pablo Alvarez, Florida Center for Survivors of Torture client and torture survivor from Cuba

CVT was especially grateful to Suresh and Pedro for traveling to Washington to share their stories and representing the power of healing and resilience of torture survivors.

About the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture

The Fund is a highly effective and efficient grantmaking entity that annually provides financial support to torture survivor centers for psychological, medical, social, legal and economic assistance to torture victims and members of their families. More than 70,000 torture survivors benefit from the Fund’s work each year.

Unfortunately, significant decreases in international contributions to the Fund have placed it under severe financial pressure, resulting in serious cutbacks to torture survivor centers.

At a time when thousands of torture survivors are waiting to receive the care they so urgently need, contributions to the Fund should be increasing, not decreasing.

After the briefing, CVT presented the 2012 Eclipse Award to the Fund at its annual reception in Washington D.C. in honor of June 26. Dr. El-Shazly accepted the award on behalf of the Fund, which was honored for its extraordinary work to protect and rehabilitation torture survivors. Keynote remarks were given by Paula Schriefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Bureau of International Organization Affairs.