Welcome to the Anti-Torture Initiative (ATI), a project of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law! We work to expand the strategies of UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Juan E. Mendez (SRT) in furtherance of his mandate. Please have a look at our website to learn more about how we help support, monitor, and assess implementation of the SRT’s recommendations, and provide a multi-dynamic model for effective thematic and country-specific follow-up. Please click on the adjacent image to read our latest news!
Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez is undertaking a country visit to Brazil at the invitation of the Government from August 3 to 14, 2015, to identify and assess the main challenges related to torture and other ill-treatment in the country. During the 12 day visit, the Special Rapporteur will conduct unannounced visits to places of detention such as police stations, pre-trial facilities, and penitentiaries in the federal district and the states of Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Maranhao, and Alagoas. “I look forward to engaging with the Brazilian Government on how the meet the challenges of upholding the rule of law, promoting accountability, and fulfilling the right of reparations for victims,” the Special Rapporteur has stated. He will meet with relevant authorities and human rights institutions at the federal and state levels, as well as with international and regional civil society organizations, victims and their families. The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary comments and recommendations at an August 14 press conference in Brasilia. The Special Rapporteur will present a final report to the Human Rights Council in March 2016. To learn more about the visit, please click on the adjacent image.
On Wednesday, 17 June 2015, The Anti-Torture Initiative, in collaboration with six global partners, launched the second edition of the#TortureFreeWorld Campaign, featuring a new #TortureFreeWorld website. The #TortureFreeWorld website and campaign will be a platform for survivors, anti-torture advocates, and human rights experts and practitioners from around the world to share stories, experiences, and work together for a #TortureFreeWorld. “A #TortureFreeWorld is not just something we imagine, it is something we work towards every day. As a survivor of torture I know how important it is to work in solidarity, support survivors and change laws and policies to truly realize a #TortureFreeWorld,” United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez said at the launch of the campaign. To learn more about the campaign and about our upcoming June 26 Webinar marking International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, please click on the adjacent image.
From March 9 – 11, 2015, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez participated in activities at the Twenty-Eight Session for he United Nations Human Rights Council. During the Session, he addressed the Council to present his latest activities and country-specific and thematic reports and conduct an interactive dialogue with State Delegations and NGOs. Highlights included the presentation of his latest thematic report on juveniles deprived of liberty, reports on his 2014 missions to Mexico and The Gambia, and on his 2014 follow-up missions to Tunisia and Tajikistan. The Special Rapporteur also held a press conference and participate in several side-events addressing a diverse array of human rights issues, including the human rights situation at Guantanamo Bay and accountability for torture in the United States, the death penalty in international law, and human rights in Sri Lanka. To learn more about the activities and access relevant documentation and links, please click on the adjacent image.
Between Monday, October 20 and Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez attended the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), held a press conference, and participated in thematic side-events alongside UN colleagues, State delegates, and civil society partners in New York City. During the Session, the Special Rapporteur presented his latest thematic report on the role of forensic and medical sciences in the investigation and prevention of torture and other ill-treatment, and engaged in an interactive dialogue on his recent activities and other topics related to his mandate. To learn more about the Special Rapporteur's week at the General Assembly and to access document, videos, and other media, please click on the adjacent image.
Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez received prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. The award celebrates human rights defenders in the United States and the Americas. This year, Professor Méndez was honored for his work as a jurist and human rights activist, and for his work as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. The award was presented by Rev. William Wipfler and Mr. John Hutchinson, who led advocacy efforts in 1977 to have Professor Méndez declared a prisoner of conscience and released from Argentine junta’s notorious Unit 9 prison, where he was detained because of his defense, as a lawyer, of political prisoners threatened by torture and arbitrary arrest in the 1970s. Special Rapporteur Méndez and this year’s other awardees were congratulated by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in a special video message, and featured in media outlets including the Washington Post. The recipients of this year’s domestic and international awards are Robin Reineke from the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, and the Mesoamerican Initiative of Human Rights Defenders. For more information and multimedia, please click on the adjacent image.