20 Years of Healing and Advocacy for Torture Survivors
A Note from our executive director
My name is Léonce Byimana, and as Executive Director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, I’d like to personally welcome you to our new website.
This year marks a milestone for TASSC. In our 20th year, we are serving an expanding community of torture survivors and continue to engage in high-level advocacy to end the practice of torture, wherever it is found across the globe. Our community originated with a focus on the needs of people from Central America; today, our clients are largely centered in Africa and Asia, as repressive regimes and the struggle for democracy evolves across the globe.
In the United States, we face perhaps the most difficult political environment in our existence. In the face of this adversity, our mission remains steadfast—to extend the welcome mat of safety, compassion, kindness and supportive services to torture survivors, despite a climate where many have demanded that America coldly slam the door shut.
We have a clear and focused approach to meet the needs of hundreds of torture survivors and asylum seekers who come to us seeking physical and psychological healing, legal support for asylum, employment mentoring and wellness and spiritual guidance.
In fact, years before I became executive director of TASSC, I was well aware of its pioneering, holistic approach to helping survivors heal. This model is one the entire community of torture recovery centers is trying to replicate.
We continue to show the strength of this model despite the most serious threat to U.S. immigration and refugees in a generation.
A few highlights of our program include:
We provided direct services in 2017 to support 279 survivors.
We added a second staff attorney, and along with our pro-bono network of lawyers, handled 80 cases for asylum, under the threat of cruel and harmful new policies.
We addressed the medical needs of 80 survivors, through the network of health care providers and physicians that accept our referrals.
We provided in-house psychological care to 83 survivors.
We organized the participation of 75 survivors in 60 different meetings in Congress in which they spoke about conditions in specific countries or about the needs of torture survivors overall.
In our 20th anniversary year, TASSC encourages people of conscience to join our healing community and become part of the solution for those who seek recovery from unimaginable suffering.
We look forward to hearing from you, and to engaging with you to save lives.
With our sincere gratitude,
TASSC Executive Director