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May 23, 1986

New center for torture victims seeks to aid the politically abused

JAMA. 1986;255(20):2717-2718. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370200015002

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In the midwestern prairie land that offered economic opportunity to oppressed peoples from Northern Europe a century ago, hope of a better life now inspires more than 30,000 recent refugees—most of them from Southeast Asia and a startling number of them survivors of politically motivated torture in their native countries.

The Minnesota Center for Torture Victims is being established in the Minneapolis-St Paul area to help these new Americans cope with the aftermath of agony.

Only two other such institutions are believed to exist in a world where Amnesty International estimates that more than one third of all national governments are responsible for the torture of political prisoners. The International Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims opened in Copenhagen in 1982, and the Canadian Center for Investigation and Prevention of Torture started in Toronto in 1983.

Minnesota's long tradition of fostering social services and social activism helps account for