Northwest Health and Human Rights (NWHHR)

4040 S. 188th St, SeaTac, WA 98188 • 206-816-3252 • E-Mail

Northwest Health and Human Rights (NWHHR)


Northwest Health and Human Rights (NWHHR) delivers medical, psychological, and legal assistance to torture survivors in King County, WA. NWHHR is a partnership between Harborview Medical Center, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. For over twenty years each partner has delivered expert care to survivors of torture and trauma so that they can gain safety and heal from the wounds of violence. We provide free legal service for those who have been tortured and are seeking asylum, as well as medical and mental health care for the wounds of torture.

In three years, NWHHR has served over 600 clients from 60 countries.


Northwest Health and Human Rights works to make sure torture survivors do not have to suffer any more than they already have. To accomplish that we provide holistic services designed to address the most common needs that survivors have. Our goals include:

  • photoA legal avenue to safety – Every survivor seeking asylum should have legal representation to help ensure they are not deported back to a country where they could be imprisoned or even killed.
  • Medical care – Torture has long-term effects on the human body that need both ongoing primary care and specialty treatment. Every survivor should get the care they need to heal.
  • Mental health care – Survivors often experience nightmares, flashbacks, a sense of isolation, profound sadness, and more. Every survivor who wants it should have supportive mental health services at no cost.
  • Self-Sufficiency– Whenever possible survivors are routed to employment and other services to help promote self-sufficiency.
  • Hope and Connection – NWHHR helps provide ESL classes, support groups, and workshops to reduce isolation, and help clients thrive in their new environment.


The Need

photoTorture is an act of organized violence and deliberate cruelty designed to break the will of individuals and spread terror in populations. In the United States, refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants are the groups most likely to have experienced torture because they have lived in war-torn countries, under repressive or authoritarian regimes, and/or faced persecution and oppression. Estimates are that between 5 and 35% of refugees and asylum seekers in the U.S. have experienced torture, including electric shocks, beatings, rape, and forced witnessing of torture or executions.

Even among the foreign-born who are not refugees or asylees, rates of torture are estimated to be as high as 11%. In the last decade, Washington State has received 24,525 refugees for primary resettlement, and ranks in the top three states for secondary refugee migrants. According to the above percentages, we estimate that in the last ten years alone between 1,226 and 8,583 torture survivors have settled in Washington State.

Wasfi's Story

Click below to watch a video of Wafsi’s journey to the United States and how our services changed his life.

Click to view video

Pathways to Wellness for ACRS from Amy Merz. VIMBA FILMS. on Vimeo.


International Counseling and Community Services and LCSNW
logoLCSNW has been addressing the mental health and adjustment needs of refugees and asylum seekers – including torture survivors - for over 20 years by offering bicultural/bilingual mental health services through its International Counseling and Community Services (ICCS) program in King County, WA. ICCS is a licensed community mental health agency that contracts with Medicaid to provide services to low-income individuals who meet medical necessity. ICCS serves over 350 clients a year, with over 95% being refugees, immigrants, or asylees, with the vast majority being refugees. Current clients are from the former Soviet Union, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi, the Congo, Mauritania, Bhutan, Burma, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and more.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
logoNorthwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is the only non-profit organization in the State of Washington providing comprehensive immigration legal services to low-income individuals and families. NWIRP's objective is to provide immigration-related direct legal services, legal advice, pro se (self-help) assistance, and referrals to low-income immigrants. NWIRP's services fall into eight program areas: Asylum, Child Services, Victims of Domestic Violence and Other Crimes, Family Unity, Citizenship, Legal Orientation, Deportation/Removal Defense and Outreach/Education. NWIRP currently serves low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from more than 100 countries across Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, and Africa.

HARBORVIEW International Medicine Clinic
imageHarborview Medical Center is a public hospital owned by King County and operated by the University of Washington. For the past 32 years, Harborview’s International Medicine Clinic (IMC) has been caring for victims of warfare, torture, imprisonment, camp internment, and forced expatriation. The IMC offers adult refugees and immigrants (16 and older) quality primary care services that are provided in a comprehensive manner through coordinating case management, social work, psychiatric supports, chronic disease management, nutritional support, and culturally tailored and linguistically appropriate care. The IMC is staffed by a core group of six attending physicians who are also faculty in the University of Washington’s Medical School and Internal Medicine Residency. These providers bring decades of global health, tropical medicine, health services and anthropological research, and resident teaching into the clinic’s daily practice

Other National Torture Treatment Providers


photoConnect With Services

Inside King County

If you know someone in King County who has been tortured please contact us.

Outside King County

If you know someone outside of King County who has been tortured and needs to connect to services please check the following links for services in your area:

Services in the US

Services outside the US



Li stood up for her freedom and so her government jailed and tortured her. After a dangerous escape, Li arrived in the United States seeking safety. She was able to find a place to live and get a job, but still she only sleeps two hours a night and finds that she is haunted by what happened to her. Li spends a lot of her time worried that she will not be given refuge and will be deported, where she feels she will most certainly be jailed again. Li needs a lawyer to help the courts understand what happened to her. She needs a doctor to treat the physical problems left from the torture she experienced. And she needs a counselor to help her overcome her nightmares and finally sleep.

No one who has been tortured should have to suffer anymore than they already have. Won’t you help Li get the support she needs?

To donate, click here and be sure to note your designation to NWHHR in the comments section.