For almost 20 years, TASSC has been dedicated to ending the practice of torture worldwide and empowering torture survivors and their families. The results of the November 8th presidential election pose challenges to us and other organizations that protect, serve and advocate for asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants.
Most TASSC survivors are in the United States legally, they go through all the proper channels in applying for asylum in the United States. While not at risk of being deported, some survivors are still concerned about the hateful rhetoric they are hearing from the incoming Trump Administration aimed at immigrants, religious and ethnic minorities.
The outcome of the election places an even greater responsibility on TASSC. That is why we are recommitting ourselves to make survivors feel welcome and safe when they come through our doors, and to continue delivering outstanding services. The range of services TASSC offers-- psychological counseling, case management, pro bono legal assistance, English classes, employment counseling, stress reduction workshops, yoga and advocacy training—is constantly expanding and adapting to the survivors’ needs.
TASSC is especially alarmed about comments from the president-elect that saying he “likes” waterboarding and other forms of torture. Not only is torture immoral and illegal according to U.S. and international law, it is ineffective. We applaud the words of Senator John McCain from Arizona, who was tortured himself in a North Vietnamese prison during the Vietnam War. On November 19 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, McCain warned Trump: “I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not torture people … It doesn’t work.”
TASSC will remain vigilant about any signs that the U.S. intends to reinstitute torture or implement any other policy that could potentially harm survivors. Whatever challenges may lie ahead, TASSC is prepared to meet them head-on.