June is Torture Awareness Month «

The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
June 26 is the United Nations international day for all of us to unite with a common voice to recognize:
  1. Individuals who are healing from the physical and psychological effects of torture;
  2. Families who are coming to terms with the trauma that loved ones have survived;
  3. Communities where survivors of torture strive to build positive relationships; and
  4. States, such as California, where thousands and thousands of torture survivors live and work.

The United Nations General Assembly selected June 26 to honor June 26, 1987, the day the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment entered force. The convention reaffirms that the equal and inalienable rights of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. Read the UN Convention Against Torture

The Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition International (TASSC) has designated the entire month of June as Torture Awareness Month. SURVIVORS supports this effort, calling upon our friends and colleagues throughout the United States as well as abroad, to participate in this campaign. All efforts, large or small, are important to achieving our goal of a torture-free community.

If you would like to organize a community event or fundraiser for June, please contact SURVIVORS through our email or at (619) 278-2400.

In California

“California is home to the largest number of refugees and immigrants in the United States. It is estimated that nearly 35% of refugees arriving to our nation from countries where torture is systematically practiced have themselves suffered at the hands of hate.”

- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

One Survivor’s Story «

Carlos Mauricio is a survivor of torture living in San Francisco, California. In June of 1983, he was working as a professor at the University of El Salvador when he was abducted and taken to the national police headquarters. There, Carlos was detained and tortured for El Salvador nearly two weeks. He suspects that his torturers chose him because he had been outspoken against the government and the civil war in El Salvador.

Upon his release, Carlos fled El Salvador for the United States. He made the journey with broken ribs, an injured eye and persistent pain in his upper body. Many of the physical and psychological scars remain. It took Carlos 15 years to be able to talk about his trauma, but he is now dedicated to helping other survivors heal and begin to tell their stories.

Torture survivors like Carlos come to California from all over the world. Repressive governments often use torture as a tool against democracy by targeting teachers, students, journalists, community leaders, or members of certain religious or ethnic groups. Politically-motivated torture is practiced in more than 100 countries.

Healing can be difficult when survivors are in exile — many arrive in the U.S. without friends, family or other supporters.

An estimated 500,000 torture survivors live in the United States, many of whom live and work in California. Treatment helps survivors to heal, rebuild trust in others, restore their self-esteem and reconnect with families, friends and communities.