VAST Research and Documentation Centre (VRDC)

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From VAST’s YouTube channel

VAST on YouTube | Expanded video library under development

Welcome to the VAST Research and Documentation Centre.

VAST is an interdisciplinary organization raising our voice against all types of torture and working towards the rehabilitation of torture survivors.

We believe that when we achieve a better understanding of the violence that affects people, and when we better understand how to heal from this violence, and when we organize in a community to reduce this violence, we achieve a better safer world for all.

Since 1986, VAST has been supporting the healing of survivors, while providing documentation of torture and advisory on torture prevention and awareness in Vancouver. VAST works with refugees, immigrants, doctors, medical students, lawyers, law enforcement, schools, and health professionals.

In 2018, VAST entered into an exciting new collaboration with the founders of the RAHAT Medical Journal and the Voices Against Torture (VAT) Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Farooq Mehdi and Rahila Farooq, to consolidate our existing work and launch the VAST Research and Documentation Centre (VRDC). In 2020, the VRDC launched the semi-annual interdisciplinary journal Voices Against Torture.

What does the VRDC do?

The VRDC currently includes the following components:

  1. Repository/Library of Resources: An online and physical multidisciplinary collection of resources related to torture, trauma, and human rights, with a focus on education, documentation, rehabilitation, healing, and community building among survivors. Collection of 1) Video (including VAST Youtube channel) 2) audio 3) reference books 4) local & international news items 5) research articles 6) client data analysis 7) Country or Region-specific torture/human rights related context (to support more effective rehabilitation supports for groups from there).
  2. Training and Capacity Building: VAST offers training and professional development workshops on refugee mental health and recovery from trauma and torture, for health, education, and social service providers, law firms, and practicum students.
  3. Documentation: Counsellors and Psychiatrists do psycho-legal and psycho-medical documentation, we coordinate with Law Firms representing survivors.
    Tracking: types of torture, how many clients VAST is helping, the extent of VAST’s work. Coordinate with the IRCT for Global Data in the Fight Against Impunity Project.
  4. Research (measures of effectiveness): Partner with Universities, supervise student projects. Any Publications from team members.
  5. Advocacy: For the prevention of torture, and to raise awareness about human rights issues and violence affecting minorities, indigenous people, and refugees. We train/guide former clients to become spokespeople for refugees, refugee claimants, and mental health needs, and against torture. Newsletter containing some of the below. Direct links to Witness and Amnesty, etc. Social Media. participate in walks, etc.

Voices Against Torture (VAT)

In 2020, under the umbrella of the VRDC, VAST launched Voices Against Torture (VAT). This semi-annual interdisciplinary journal is an organic extension of the education, advocacy, and community-building mandate of VAST. VAT operates in alignment with the values and vision of the VAST community and hopes to further lift the voices of torture survivors to support resilience and dignity. See their current Call for Contributions.

Related Data Centers


Conference name Location Date
21st International Conference on Rights of Refugees and Migration Law Paris January 24-25, 2019
19th International Conference on Diversity in Communities, Organizations and Nations Greece June 5-7, 2019
2nd Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conferece Brisbane March 27-29, 2019
6th Annual WNY Refugee Health Summit Buffalo, NY 2019 TBA
International Refugee Rights Conference Eastern Canada 4/year May, February, September, December
Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Various Canadian Cities May annually
Canadian Immigration Summit Ottawa May annually
International Association for the Study of Forced Migration Cities around the world Biennially
International Conference on Human Rights Education Montreal November anually
North American Refugee Health Conference Toronto/Portland June 14-16, 2019