Category Archives: Reports

Special Rapporteur urges Pakistan to halt the ongoing surge in executions and to reimpose the death penalty moratorium

29 July 2015- Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Médez and other UN human rights experts have urged Pakistan to halt the ongoing surge in executions in the country and to reimpose a moratorium on the death penalty. Since the lifting of the moratorium in December 2014, more than 182 prisoners have been executed, including two earlier this week. The experts also called on the Government to commute without delay the sentences of those on death row, an estimated 8,000 persons. The Special Rapporteur asked Pakistan to “reconsider whether the use of the death penalty per se respects the inherent dignity of the human person, causes severe mental and physical pain or suffering and constitutes a violation of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The experts also drew attention to the case of Mr. Shafqat Hussain, whose trial fell short of international standards, and called on the Government to abide by due process of law and fair trial standards. Convicted for a crime reportedly committed as a child, Mr. Hussain is scheduled to be executed on 4 August despite the experts’ appeal.

To see the full article click here.

Special Rapporteur reiterates desire to make an official visit to United States following President Obama’s recent call for criminal justice reform

July 21, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez today called on the United States Government to facilitate his request to carry out an official visit to the United States. The call comes after President Obama’s visit last week to El Reno prison in Oklahoma and his statements highlighting the need for criminal justice reform in the US, particularly as regards unacceptably high rates of incarceration that have a disparate impact on racial minorities, overcrowding, and the extensive use of solitary confinement.

The Special Rapporteur added that he looks forward to “working with the US Department of Justice on the special study commissioned by the President on the need to regulate solitary confinement, which affects 80,000 inmates in the United States, in most cases for periods of months and years.”

The Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Seong-Phil Hong stated at the same time that the Working Group has also asked the Government for an opportunity to visit federal and state institutions where persons are deprived of their liberty.

“We hope the President’s recent actions will ensure concrete steps are taken to facilitate these visits to US detention facilities, including private interviews with detainees” the independent experts said. “We stand ready to provide any additional expertise to ensure that prison reforms are implemented in accordance with international human rights standards,” they concluded.

 See the full article here.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez addresses the importance of holding the CIA accountable in in Politico op-ed

June 24, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez recounts his personal experience of torture suffered decades ago in Argentina in a Politico op-ed and explains the importance of holding the CIA accountable, following the release of the Senate Torture Report.

“To my abusers. . . this was merely “enhanced interrogation””, a euphemism that downplays the pain and inhumanity of torture, the Special Rapporteur revealed, while pointing out that U.S. political figures – including presidential candidate Rick Perry – use the same euphemism to describe the CIA’s torture and ill treatment during its secret detention operations from 2002 to 2008. “Instead, torture becomes a matter of rational decision making and calibrated legality,” explained the Special Rapporteur, who also expressed concern to the fact that only four of the fourteen declared U.S. presidential candidates said they would keep an executive order put in place by President Barack Obama in his first days in office that seeks to ensure the U.S. does not commit torture.

Yet, although Obama abandoned the flawed legal reasoning the Bush administration used to justify torture – a crime under U.S. and international law – enhanced interrogation still hasn’t been prosecuted in the U.S., a situation that has left torturers free to campaign for its return while emboldening them worldwide.

Despite that, the Special Rapporteur remains convinced that the situation has improved, noting that the latest Senate amendment to the defense authorization bill strengthens the U.S. ban on torture. However, much remains to be done as torture “will continue to be known merely — and shamefully — as enhanced interrogation” as long as it goes unpunished.  You can read the article in full on Politico.

Special Rapporteur to present thematic report on torture and ill-treatment of children deprived of liberty

March 6, 2015 –  From March 9-11, 2015, the Special Rapporteur on Torture will be participating in activities at the 28th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).  During the Session, the Special Rapporteur will address the Human Rights Council to present his latest activities and reports, including his newest thematic report on children deprived of liberty.  The Special Rapporteur will also conduct an interactive dialogue with State Delegations and NGOs, and hold a press conference and participate in several side-events addressing a diverse array of human rights issues. More information about these activities and relevant documentation is available on our 28th Session of the Human Rights Council page.

The report to the Mexico visit has been published/Se publicó el informe de la visita a México

The report is now available in SpanishEnglishFrenchArab and Russian.


El Relator Especial difunde el informe sobre la visita a México

February 13, 2015 – El informe del Relator Especial sobre su visita a México en abril/mayo del 2014 ya se encuentra disponible en español, inglés y francés.
En el informe, el Relator Especial concluye, de manera alarmante, que la tortura es generalizada en México y, en general, llevada a cabo por policías municipales, estatales y federales, agentes ministeriales estatales y federales, y por las fuerzas armadas. Normalmente comienza desde que el sujeto es detenido hasta que es puesto a disposición de un juez y en la mayoría de los casos esta es utilizada como castigo o como parte de la investigación. Las salvaguardas son débiles y las condiciones de detención no siguen los estándares internacionales en materia de derechos humanos siendo el hacinamiento el principal problema. Es por esto que el Relator Especial recomendó al Gobierno de México un número de medidas a implementar y pidió a la comunidad internacional ayudar al Gobierno en su lucha para eliminar la tortura y los malos tratos, revertir la impunidad y garantizar la reparación integral de las víctimas.


Observations Report (Mendez 2014)

New Resolution on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Adopted by the General Assembly

March 20, 2014 – The UN General Assembly Resolution adopted a new resolution on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment on December 18, 2013 in New York.  The Resolution recognized the Special Rapporteur’s reports and follow-up efforts, encouraging him to continue to include proposals on the prevention and investigation of torture and other ill-treatment in his recommendations, as well as to report on follow-up by States to his recommendations, visits, and other communications.  The Resolution also calls upon all States to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his tasks. The Resolution highlighted in particular the need for States to to supply all necessary information requested by the Special Rapporteur; to fully and expeditiously respond to and follow up on his urgent appeals; to give serious consideration to responding favourably to requests to visit their countries; and to enter into a constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on requested visits as well as with respect to the follow-up to his recommendations. The full text of the Resolution is available here.

Exclusionary Rule – Thematic Report (Mendez 2014)