Category Archives: Audio

Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapportuer on Torture, Discusses Aspects of Transitional Justice in video for Just Planet

February 1, 2016 – In a new video recorded to mark the launch of the Just Planet, a new NGO working for the defense of human rights worldwide, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez discusses aspects of transitional justice and the complexities of reconstructing society following mass atrocities and war.  In his remarks, the Special Rapporteur addresses the need to achieve a peace with justice in the aftermath of conflicts, stressing in particular that international law requires peace processes to consult both victim and the legitimate interests of justice, and to combat impunity.  To view the Special Rapporteur’s message and learn more about Just Planet, visit:

Special Rapporteur on Torture Speaks to NPR about Ending Solitary Confinement in California Prisons

5 September 2015- On Saturday September 5, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered about the landmark settlement in the federal class action lawsuit of Ashker v. Governor of California, which will effectively end indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons. The Special Rapporteur explained that in California, solitary confinement “is used to punish or to isolate people who are deemed to belong to gangs . . . which inflicts the kind of mental pain and suffering that is associated with the prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the international law. And in the most severe cases it can even be considered torture.” He praised the decision to place approximately 90 percent of the 3,000 or 4,000 people in solitary confinement into the general prison population as a “general trend towards recognizing that solitary confinement can be a very serious violation of constitutional and even international human rights.”

To listen to the full interview, please click here

Special Rapporteur Presents Reports, Participates in Side-Events During Twenty-Fifth Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva

March 10 – 12, 2013 – During the week of Monday, March 10, 2014, Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, addressed the Twenty-Fifth Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), held a press conference, and participated in several side-events in Geneva, alongside UN colleges, State delegates, and partners from civil society organizations.  During the HRC Session, the Special Rapporteur presented the report on his recent country visit to the Republic of Ghana, as well as his latest thematic report on the exclusionary rule and the use of torture-tainted evidence and information by executive actors and agencies within States. For more information about the Special Rapporteur’s activities at the UNHRC including video-links to his presentation and other media, please visit our page dedicated to the Human Rights Council Session.

UN Official Finds Evidence of Torture in Ghana Jails

November 20, 2013 – The Special Rapporteur discussed his findings from his recent visit to Ghana in an Radio France International interview. In the interview, the Special Rapporteur described prison conditions in the country as appalling and subhuman, and as being characterized by severe overcrowding. The Special Rapporteur additionally described witnessing some examples of physical violence, such as whipping, on the bodies of detainees. The Special Rapporteur noted that he is persuaded that torture in the form of physical violence during interrogation is, however, relatively rare. He further discussed visiting a juvenile detention center in Accra, where a number of children aged 13 to 16 described having been subjected to corporal punishment the day before his visit, and displayed physical signs of lashing. During his visit, the Special Rapporteur also came across the case of a detainee who was subjected to mob violence. The radio interview in full is available here.

Special Rapporteur Discusses Use of Torture in Latin America, Worldwide

August 2013 – In a radio interview given at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez discussed the ongoing practice of torture worldwide. The Special Rapporteur explained that many Latin American states continue to face challenges in eradicating the use of torture by police as a means of extracting confessions in criminal investigations. He also identified poverty and underdevelopment as important factors that contribute to the continued prevalence of torture in many parts of the world. The Special Rapporteur further expressed concern about deplorable prison conditions in Latin America, which frequently amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and about troubling trends in popular culture that appear to legitimize the use of torture as a response to the threat of terrorism. Link to interview.

Radio ONU (SP) – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Stresses the Importance of a Victim-Centered Approach to the Struggle to Abolish

June 2013 – In Commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, SRT Juan Méndez stresses important considerations in the struggle to abolish torture worldwide. He emphasizes States’ obligation to compensate and rehabilitate torture victims in the most effective and comprehensive way.  SRT urges prosecutors and other investigative authorities to provide avenues of victim participation in establishing the facts in truth-seeking exercises as well as when holding perpetrators accountable. In this context, SRT further emphasizes the holistic and multidisciplinary dimension of rehabilitation and the importance of a victim- or survivor-oriented approach. Click here to hear the interview in full in Spanish.

Human Rights Challenges in Latin American

Listen to the Special Rapporteur discuss challenges for human rights in Latin America in an  interview with Radio Canada International.

International and Comparative Law Workshop on the Special Rapporteur’s Report on Abusive Practices in Healthcare Settings

Special Rapporteur Prof. Juan E. Mendez and Prof. Robert Dinerstin, Director of WCL’s Disability Rights Law Clinic, discuss the Special Rapporteur’s recent report on abusive practices in healthcare settings.


Radio Naciones Unidas: Entrevista con el Relator Especial de la ONU sobre la tortura y otros tratos o penas crueles, inhumanos o degradantes Juan Méndez


Juan Méndez Speaks on Enforcing the Absolute Prohibition Against Torture during an Event at the Chatham House in London