Oct 22, 2017 Last Updated 7:10 AM, Sep 29, 2017

Program for Survivors of Torture and Violence

Program for Survivors of Torture

Human Rights Abuses in Iraq

During the past 40 years, generations of children and youths living in Iraq were not born free – they were born into a world of totalitarianism, trauma and terror. Many of their mothers and fathers have not enjoyed the right to life, liberty or security: numerous men and women were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment.

The most frequent human rights violations experienced by our clients are

  • severe physical torture or prolonged psychological torture
  • long-term detention under extremely degrading conditions
  • chemical attacks and genocidal campaigns
  • forced displacement and flight
  • war and military conflict
  • terrorist attacks, kidnappings, targeted killings
  • persecution due to ethnic, religious or political backgrounds
  • rape and other forms of sexual abuse
  • domestic or gender-specific violence

We restore the dignity of survivors by offering them medical, psychosocial and legal services free of charge.

Survivors' Needs

Survivors of torture and violence suffer from complex disorders that affect them on a physical, psychological and socio-economic level.

The long-term consequences of extreme violence by human hand are not limited to individuals. They destroy family structures, affect entire communities, impinge on the following generations, and can lead to destructive cycles of violence in post-repressive societies.

Survivors need a multidisciplinary spectrum of services comprising medical diagnostics and torture anamnesis; medical, psychosomatic and physiotherapeutic treatment; social counseling and legal advice; as well as culturally sensitive, age-appropriate and gender-specific psychotherapy.

Our Services

Each year, the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights treats about 2000 torture survivors and victims of violence. About half of those who seek help are female adults while one third are children and adolescents. Most of the clients are of Kurdish origin, followed by Arabs, Turkmens, and Assyrians.

On the physical level, we seek to heal victims of torture and enable them to lead a healthy life as defined by the World Health Organization. Our medical team offers free medical rehabilitation services, including diagnostics and assessment; medication and pharmacological treatment; as well as general medical, pediatric, orthopedic, physiotherapeutic and surgical treatment in cooperation with local hospitals.

On the psychological level, we aim to empower torture survivors to overcome their trauma, reorient themselves towards future goals and become agents of change. Our psychotherapeutic team offers psycho-trauma diagnostics; counseling for individuals, families and groups; special psychotherapy for children; as well as psychiatric consultation.

On the social level, we help victims reintegrate into society so that they can play an active and meaningful role in their communities. Our social counseling team provides all clients with advice regarding legal redress, welfare, access to educational opportunities and referral to external services established by local NGOs.

On the moral and political level, we seek to protect actual and potential victims of torture through advocacy, education, and awareness-raising. Our team offers interviews and reports for the media; open information events for citizens, victims' associations and NGOs; as well as public seminars for health workers, pedagogues and lawyers.

Further Information

To learn more about the program and ways to help, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Survivor of Torture

Ciwan from Sulaymaniyah

Every Day at 10 O’Clock Was Torturing Time

This is the story of Ciwan, a 43-year-old man from Sulaymaniyah. He is a survivor of torture. Ciwan is the father of two children of whom he takes care on his own as he has recently divorced his much younger wife...

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