Tuesday, 9 June 2009

FWC supports the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

There is a special day to focus on helping torture victims and ending torture -- the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture -- to be observed every year on 26 June. Cyprus has only one treatment centre and it is run by FWC. It is called the Unit for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture (URVT). The Unit’s mission is to assist victims of torture by providing multidisciplinary treatment and rehabilitation services, and to raise public awareness of issues concerning torture and rehabilitation. This is achieved by utilizing a treatment approach which integrates a full range of services including medical treatment, psychological support, legal counseling, and other social services. The Unit works closely with a network of volunteer service providers, medical professionals, and language and cultural translators to help victims and their families rebuild their lives.

This year FWC will help raise awareness about the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26th with a public event in Eletherias Square.

Torture is one of the most profound human rights abuses, taking a terrible toll on millions of individuals and their families. Rape, blows to the soles of the feet, suffocation in water, burns, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, shaking and beating are commonly used by torturers to break down an individual's personality. As terrible as the physical wounds are, the psychological and emotional scars are usually the most devastating and the most difficult to repair. Many torture survivors suffer recurring nightmares and flashbacks. They withdraw from family, school and work and feel a loss of trust.

Thirty years ago, there were no treatment centres or services to treat torture survivors. Today there are some 200 centres or programmes all over the world. There is now profound knowledge of torture methods, the effects of torture, and how to diagnose and rehabilitate torture victims.

Over 100 programmes treating torture victims in more than 50 countries -- from the United States to Nepal -- receive funding from the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, which was established in 1981.

For more information about the URVT please contact Larry Fergeson, Head of Social Justice.

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