Advocacy and Outreach

Bringing the Survivor Voice to the Forward

TASSC gave me the chance to speak in Congress about how the Ethiopian government humiliated me psychologically and tortured me physically. I became confident that my voice was being heard, and that I was influencing American policy in my home country. I could not have said even one critical word about my government back home, but now I can feel what freedom and democracy means.
— TASSC Survivor

Program Overview

TASSC’s  Advocacy and Outreach Program educates policymakers and the public about torture carried out by countries worldwide - as many as 141 countries, according to Amnesty International. The program offers ways to combat torture and encourages support for survivors in the United States. The pillar of this program is the survivor voice, which we believe to be the most powerful tool in the fight to abolish torture. TASSC's Advocacy Agenda currently focuses on three key issues:

  • Influencing US human rights policies toward countries where survivors have fled;

  • Emphasizing why the US should continue to be a leader on global human rights and ensure protection for refugees and asylum seekers; and

  • Calling attention to contributions made by refugees, asylees and immigrants to the United States.

Each year, TASSC trains around 80 survivors from all over the world to become human rights activists. Advocacy and Outreach Program staff engage with survivors who are willing to speak out publicly about their experiences and arranges for them to meet with Members of Congress, their staff and other government officials. Since many survivors were persecuted for participating in peaceful demonstrations, criticizing their government in the press and exposing government corruption, voicing their opinions in US congressional offices is an incredibly powerful experience, and contributes to their healing process.

TASSC’s Truth Speakers initiative trains survivors to share their experience with local religious institutions, human rights organizations and community groups.


June Survivors Week

During this annual, week-long conference, TASSC convenes its members and supporters to learn about international perspectives on torture and related human rights issues, US policies and opportunities for positive change. The conference takes place at the end of June to commemorate the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26.

Truth Speakers

Through this community-building initiative, survivors share their personal experiences with the public at events sponsored by universities, faith-based groups, civil action groups and local community members.

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Advocacy on the Hill

Program staff train survivors and community members to advocate on issues related to TASSC's advocacy agenda. We invite TASSC supporters interested in gaining experience on the Hill, to visit congressional offices alongside survivors to advocate on human rights issues impacting our community.