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2010 Year-End Message

December 28, 2010


Dear Friends:

The year is drawing to a close, and it’s been a hard one for everyone who’s working to make our country more welcoming for immigrants, asylum seekers, and survivors of  war, political violence, and torture. 

Here at The Refuge Media Project, we were pleased to find extensive quotes from several of our interviews with torture survivors on Jeff Kaye’s firedoglake blog – resulting in a very nice spike in our own readership. Jeff – himself a psychologist who works with torture survivors in California – quoted some of the stories on our “Voices of Survivors” page. 

I have to take issue with one statement from his piece, however: “Unbeknown to much of the country,” he writes, “there has grown in recent years a huge network of torture treatment centers, assisting survivors with their medical and psychological needs…” In truth, the number and size of such centers is totally inadequate to the need, and despite the almost superhuman efforts of their staff and volunteers, they reach a tiny fraction of the more than half a million survivors living in the U.S. (and that estimate is at least 10 years old – more have been arriving every day.)

Moreover, those which do exist face constant funding problems. We recently learned that the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture – which helps support many torture treatment programs here and throughout the world – has been forced by a decline in contributions to cut back its grant renewals to U.S. projects by 20%, and funding available to new grantees will now be capped at $20,000 instead of $50,000. For example, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, one of the projects we work with, will lose more than eight percent of its annual budget, and I’m sure other U.S. programs will face similar cuts. (The Refuge Media Project itself does not receive any funding from the UNVFVT.)

So…if you’re still writing end-of-the-year checks, please consider making a contribution to one of the great organizations that are helping survivors recover and make a new life here. If there’s a group in your own community, they undoubtedly need your help. If not, here’s how to contact two of the groups that we’ve been working with over the past few years. There are many more listed on our website.   

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (Washington, DC)

Center for Victims of Torture (Minneapolis, MN)   

The group that Jeff Kaye works with (thanks, Jeff) is:
Survivors International (San Francisco, CA)

Of course, your continued support for our own work in documenting
the work of these groups will always be welcome.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 1:01 PM

    Thank you for mentioning us– and for all the resources you provide through your blog!

    Kathryn Fraser
    Development & Communications Associate
    Survivors International

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