Original photo: Biswarup Ganguly / Wikimedia

Advocacy by NCTTP members for Torture Survivors & Against Torture Occurs in Communities and Counties, in State Governments, & in the United States Congress

Goals of Advocacy by NCTTP Centers:

NCTTP representatives meet with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

NCTTP representatives meet with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

  • Advocate for awareness in the public and among government officials of the severe impacts of torture on the health, well-being, and productivity of torture survivors.
  • Increase awareness of torture as a public health problem.
  • Advocate for changes in policy which will increase basic resources for torture survivors.
  • Advocate for increased collaboration of governmental and non-governmental agencies with the NCTTP to further all of the above.

NCTTP Advocates for Full Implementation of the Convention Against Torture

NCTTP is working to promote full implementation of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (typically called the Convention Against Torture or CAT) by educating the public about U.S. Government obligations under the treaty, and engaging our membership in the effective use of the treaty to promote human rights in the United States.

Mary Lynn Everson, Lin Piwowarczyk, and Cris Riley at the United Nations in Geneva.

Mary Lynn Everson, Lin Piwowarczyk, and Cris Riley at the United Nations in Geneva. The three recently advocated at the United Nations Committee Against Torture for increases in funding for rehabilitation for survivors of torture.

The U.S. Government released its Periodic Report to the Committee Against Torture, outlining how it is upholding its obligation to end torture. Because the United States accepted the United Nations Convention Against Torture as law, the federal government is obligated to submit a report every four years to the Committee, which monitors compliance with the Convention. Please find a full version of the report here.


Despite its universal condemnation, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Juan Méndez, has stated that 'some form of torture or mistreatment is happening at any moment in at least half the countries of the world.' While the heinous practice comes in many forms—whether it is used to suppress democracy movements, dissolve civil society organizations, silence journalists, cover up corruption, or to extract information—it rarely happens in a vacuum. Torture is often indicative of broader human rights violations and abuses of power.

The effects of torture can last a lifetime for survivors and affect future generations. Torture survivors often suffer multiple disabling conditions, including chronic pain, extreme anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that interfere with even the most basic functions of daily life. Providing torture survivors with specialized services improves their social and economic functions while promoting self-sufficiency and integration. Our programs have a proven track record of assisting torture survivors in gaining control of their lives, building confidence in their futures, reuniting with family members, improving their connectedness to the communities they live in, and reducing the incidence of serious health problems and dependence on emergency medical care. 

- Linda Piwowarczyk, M.D., President, NCTTP, Psychiatrist and public health practitioner, Dr. Piwowarczyk is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and co-founder of the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR). Dr. Piwowarczyk currently serves as director of BCRHHR.

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