CVT Makes Commitment to Action at Clinton Global Initiative to Heal Syrian Torture Survivors in Jordan

Monday, September 24, 2012

St. Paul, MN – The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) today announced that it is making a Commitment to Action as part of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to expand its mental health and physical therapy services in Jordan to reach traumatized Syrian refugees. CVT will increase its ability to see Syrian torture and war trauma survivors at its existing clinic in Amman, and add a mobile unit that will travel daily to places in north Jordan with large numbers of Syrian refugees.

“The level of trauma experienced by Syrian refugees is shocking, even for an organization like ours that sees the effects of torture every day,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT. “We know this kind of political violence destroys individuals and communities by spreading fear, distrust and anger. The kind of professional mental health services CVT provides is integral to helping individuals and their families rebuild their lives, and it is integral to restoring societies torn apart by violence.”

The effects of torture can lead to multiple disabling conditions that interfere with even the most basic functions of daily life. Symptoms can include chronic pain in muscles and joints, headaches, incessant nightmares and other sleep disorders, stomach pain and nausea, severe depression and anxiety, guilt, self-hatred, the inability to concentrate, thoughts of suicide and posttraumatic stress disorder. Torture and war trauma survivors can become immobilized by their feelings and symptoms, unable to function within their communities or contribute to their family’s well-being.

To address the overwhelming mental health challenges, CVT will:

  • Provide high quality mental health and physical therapy services to Syrian refugees  traumatized as a result of torture and war trauma;
  • Provide ongoing training and mentoring to local counseling and physical therapy staff, who will remain long-term in the region as experts in trauma treatment;
  • Train staff of national and international nongovernmental organizations and other agencies to provide appropriate care for survivors.

CVT’s international healing initiatives are in areas of the world where few mental health resources are available. Working in refugee camps and areas where conflict has devastated entire communities, we train local community members to meet the mental health needs in their communities for the long term.

CVT currently provides direct mental health healing care in Jordan to Iraqi refugees and in refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya. Past international healing projects include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and refugee camps in Guinea. 

CVT is an international nonprofit with headquarters in St. Paul and offices in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and projects in Africa and the Middle East.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.



Brad Robideau
brobideau [at]

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Jenni Bowring-McDonough
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