On Thursday, November 20th Cornell students, staff, faculty and Ithaca locals came
together in Kaufmann Auditorium for a panel discussion that featured
doctors from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. Cornell's Campus Anti-War
Network, the Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations and Amnesty
International sponsored the event. The panel included Dr. Allen Keller, program director, Dr. Samantha Stewart, the
program’s psychiatrist and Dr. Homer Venters, physician at our program's Monday Night Clinic. For more details, please read the article in Cornell's newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun.
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens will be hosting an Education and Employment Expo this Sunday, October 26th, in Queens. Some of the 25 NGO’s, that will be present, provide amazing services like free re-furbished computers, financial literacy classes and micro-credit loans to undocumented immigrants. Get connected with employment and business counselors, educations, landlord/tenant attorneys, immigrant attorneys, trainers and instructors, all under one roof! For more information please contact: Ms. Tenaz Dubash,Community Project Director, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, P: 718-722-6223. The event will take place at Our Lady of the Angelus, 63-63 98th Street, Rego Park, NY 11374 (parking is available at the church)
The SSI Extension legislation, signed into law at the start of the Jewish new year, is effective as of October 1. SSI eligibility for elderly and disabled refugees, aslyess and other humanitarian immigrants is now extended from seven to nine years. In
addition, a provision of the bill will cover those who have already lost their SSI benefits. Those humanitarian immigrants with a naturalization application pending with the Department of Homeland Security will be granted a tenth year of SSI eligibility.
The two-year extension will help the approximately 30,000 elderly and disabled refugees who have already been cut off due to the seven-year limit, as well as the more than 19,000 refugees and humanitarian migrants who are projected to lose their benefits in the coming years. These individuals fled persecution or torture in countries such as Iran, Russia, Iraq, Vietnam, and Somalia, and now are too elderly or disabled to support themselves. Some 40 percent of the refugees affected by the SSI cut-off are from the former Soviet Union, and the majority of those are said to be Jews. Click here to read the full press release.
Program Director Dr. Allen Keller and Clinical Director Dr. Hawthorne Smith, will be speaking at a conference on Friday September 12: The Interrogation & Torture Controversey: Crisis in Psychology." The conference will take place at John Jay College of Criminal Justice 899 10th avenue, between 58th and 59th street in Manhattan. The conference, which is free and open to the public runs from 9 am to 4 pm. Check in starts at 8:30 am. For more information about the conference click here.
Some professionals are trying to force the American Psychological Association to bar its members from participating in coercive interrogations and torture. Dr. Steven Reisner is running for president of the APA on an anti-terror platform; Dr. Allen Keller is Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. Journalist Katherine Eban has written about psychologists and torture for Vanity Fair. The show will air Thursday, September 11 from 12 pm-12:40 pm (WNYC/NPR 820 AM or 93.9 FM). To listen to the show click here.
The daily TV/radio news program, Democracy Now interviews Dr. Allen Keller on the report he co-authored for Physicians for Human Rights which has, for the first time, found medical evidence corroborating the claims of former prisoners who say they were tortured while in US custody. Teams of medical specialists conducted physical and psychological tests on the former prisoners, including exams intended to assess if they were lying. Click here for the transcript and to listen/watch the show.
Broken Laws, Broken Lives shows the human consequences of harsh and
unlawful US interrogation practices. This landmark report reveals the excruciating pain and
continued suffering of men who, never charged with any crime, endured torture at US detention
facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay. Based on internationally accepted
for clinical assessment of torture claims, the report documents practices used to bring about
long-lasting pain, terror, humiliation, and shame for months on end. Click here for a link to Dr. Nguyen's video interview.
On June 15, 16 and 17, the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival will present the U.S. premiere of “The Dictator Hunter,” by Dutch director Klaartje Quirijns. The film explores the efforts of Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch, and Souleymane Guengueng, a Chadian torture victim, to bring former president Hissène Habré of Chad to trial for killing thousands of his own countrymen in the 1980s. To purchase tickets click here.
In his statement, Dr. Venters pointed to the confusing and unreliable statistics concerning detainee deaths, and argued that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) healthcare system contains key elements that may jeopardize detainee health. Contrary to public statements by ICE, he concluded that this health system, and the care it allows for detainees, is getting worse not better. Please consult the Washington Post article on this testimony, or download a PDF of Venters' report.
Each year CVT presents the Eclipse Award to an individual who has given extraordinary service for the protection and healing of torture survivors, and for the prevention of torture.
Recently Dr. Keller reported on the cases of two Iraqi individuals held and tortured at Abu Ghraib. Using international guidelines for the evaluation and documentation of torture, Dr. Keller’s findings substantiated the individuals’ allegations of torture and confirmed the profound health consequences of torture. The report found the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not the result of a few guards but were implemented systematically in the context of interrogations.