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The Nexus between Survivors of Torture and Refugees/Asylum Seekers

The Nexus between Survivors of Torture and Refugees/Asylum Seekers

Global Refugee Studies in collaboration with IRCT (The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims) are pleased to invite you to a seminar on ‘the Nexus between Survivors of Torture and Refugees/Asylum Seekers’.


29.11.2017 kl. 10.00 - 12.00


Reports show that many, many refugees, apart from the horrors of flight, have also been subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. This sad fact poses particular challenges for rehabilitation and integration of refugees, not only in resource-strong nations like Denmark but especially for countless, often under-resourced and struggling centers around the world. They act as first port of call for people emerging from horror. This seminar provides an introduction to and discussion of the relationship between refugees, torture and trauma.

Speakers at the seminar are:

  • Kathi Anderson, Executive Director, Survivors of Torture, International, San Diego, California, USA.
    She will be speaking about “The nexus between torture and refugees: Large and Growing Populations and the Question of How to Serve Them,” and ask questions, such as: What is torture and who are the survivors of torture? How is torture treatment structured in the United States? By means of quantitative and qualitative examples, these and other questions will be addressed with a focus on healing, hope and resiliency.
  • Sanaa Hamzé, Head of the Rehabilitation Department at Restart Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture (Restart) in Lebanon.
    She will be speaking about: “Weaving Hope amidst Life’s Darkness: Working with survivors of torture and war traumas on the ground: First-hand stories and experiences from a clinical perspective.” The central question in this presentation will be: How does one create hope for people who have lost so much, and who have been stripped of dignity and self-worth? Introducing case studies from her work, Sanaa illustrates the need to focus on protection, prevention and rehabilitation. Only by focusing on all three will we be able to respond to the needs of survivors of torture and violence.

Short bios of speakers:

Kathi Anderson:

In 1997, Kathi co-founded Survivors of Torture, International (SURVIVORS) located in San Diego, California, USA. SURVIVORS’ mission is to facilitate the healing of torture survivors and their families, educate professionals and the public about torture and its consequences and advocate of the abolition of torture. She served as SURVIVORS’ first board chair before becoming its executive director. She is also a co-founder of the U.S.-based National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs. She has extensive experience in health care, human rights, refugee resettlement and higher education. She received from San Jose State University her M.A. in Counseling and from the University of the Pacific her B.A. in International Relations. Kathi is the recipient of many awards, most recently from American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties, American Bar Association Immigration Justice Project and the United Nations Association, San Diego.

Sanaa Hamzé, Psy.D. in Grief Counseling:

Sanaa Hamzé is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Advisor specialized in the treatment and rehabilitation of torture and trauma survivors. Working since 1986 in this field, she is a founding member of Restart Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, which was established in 1996, a founding member of Friends in Need Association for Deaf, a founding member of the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (EMAPAP), President of FISTA Association for Special Education - North Lebanon, and the current Vice President of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT). Sanaa is an expert consultant on mental health for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and has recently joined PHR’s project on forensic documentation in Iraq, where she instructed health providers and legal experts on the psychological impact of sexual abuse and torture. As an international expert in the documentation of torture according to the Istanbul Protocol (IP), she has documented more than 70 cases of torture and sexual violence from which 23 were referred to the court with the collaboration of lawyers. Her long-standing experience with primary and secondary victims of violence and torture has inspired her to develop an innovative Family Therapy Model, uniquely tailored to this population. Since 2010, she has taken on the role of Trainer, as well as Mentor, for the psychological, clinical and forensic documentation of torture at several international conferences. In 2013, she has been appointed as a professional trainer in “Capacity Building for Law Enforcement Personnel in Lebanon” regarding documentation of torture according to the IP. After 30 years working in this field, she still asks herself, “Am I doing enough?”.

The seminar i open for everyone with an interest. 



Global Refugee Studies, AAU and IRCT (The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims)


Room 0.090A at Aalborg University, Copenhagen Campus, A. C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 Copenhagen S