with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
Special Rapporteur Inaugurates Second Training Program on Human Rights Protection Mechanisms

Special Rapporteur Inaugurates Second Training Program on Human Rights Protection Mechanisms

September 30, 2014 – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, inaugurated the second Training Program on Human Rights Protection Mechanisms, organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute in collaboration with the American University Washington College of Law. The course will be held at the Robert F. Kennedy International House of Human Rights in Florence from September 29 to October 3, 2014. The main goal of this training is to share best practices that can be replicated in other systems to achieve better human rights protection worldwide. Participants from Haiti, the United States, El Salvador, Egypt, Western Sahara, Ghana, Hungary, Denmark, Nepal, Pakistan, and Italy will have the unique opportunity to learn from renowned experts with experience in each of the major protection systems. Experts will also share their experiences on the advantages and disadvantages of the different mechanisms. To read more about the training program, please visit the RFK Center website

Colombia: UN Experts Warn Bill on Military Criminal Justice a Setback for Human Rights

Colombia: UN Experts Warn Bill on Military Criminal Justice a Setback for Human Rights

September 29, 2014 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez and other UN independent human rights experts are calling on the Government and Congress of Colombia to reconsider the possible adoption of a 2013 Bill, which aims to restructure and expand the scope of military courts. The experts state that “if adopted, this Bill could seriously undermine the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.” The proposed legislation would allow civilians to be tried before military tribunals and would expand the jurisdiction of military tribunals to include crimes that are unrelated to service in the military. Under the Bill, military and police courts would have jurisdiction over, inter alia, homicide, breaches of international humanitarian law, breaches of information and data protection, crimes against public security and crimes against the civilian population. The Special Rapporteurs stress that personal jurisdiction of such tribunals should be limited to active members of the armed forces and call on the government to ensure that only breaches of discipline and crimes of a strictly military nature should be tried before military and police tribunals. They also express concern with the fact that, “since military and police courts in Colombia are part of the executive branch, extending their jurisdiction to matters that should be heard by ordinary criminal courts would result in a breach of the right to a fair trial before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.” The experts offer to provide advisory services to assist Colombia in its efforts to strengthen its legislative and institutional framework for the achievement of human rights and peace for all. The open letter is available here. To read the press release in full, please visit the OHCHR website.

Special Rapporteur Delivers Lectures On Transitional Justice to Mark the Thirtieth Anniversary of Argentina’s Nunca Más

Special Rapporteur Delivers Lectures On Transitional Justice to Mark the Thirtieth Anniversary of Argentina’s Nunca Más

September 19, 2014 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez delivered a lecture on the “Argentine Experience and the Emergence of a Universal Right to Truth” at the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. The lecture marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Argentina’s National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons landmark report, Nunca Más. The Special Rapporteur reflected on the report and its impact on the origins and development of transitional justice. He also delivered a lecture at the Duke University School of Law and donated his papers, most of which focus on his work as Special Rapporteur on Torture, in the Human Rights Archive at Duke’s Rubenstein Library Friday. To watch the Special Rapporteur’s lectures please visit the following links for the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Duke University School of Law. You can also read a piece on the  events in the Duke Chronicle.
UN EXPERTS URGE ETHIOPIA TO STOP USING ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION TO CURB HUMAN RIGHTS

UN EXPERTS URGE ETHIOPIA TO STOP USING ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION TO CURB HUMAN RIGHTS

September 18, 2014 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez and other UN independent human rights experts have urged the Ethiopian government to stop misusing anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedoms of expression and association in the country. The experts stated that two years after first addressing the issue, they are “still receiving numerous reports on how the anti-terrorism law is being used to target journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and opposition politicians in Ethiopia.” Arbitrary detention and unfair trials, often with no access to a lawyer, are used as a means to suppress dissent under the pretext of countering terrorism. The Special Rapporteurs stressed that “confronting terrorism is important but it has to be done in adherence to international human rights to be effective.” They called on the Ethiopian government to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously and with accordance to Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations. They also urged Ethiopia to respond positively to outstanding visit requests by a number of Special Rapporteurs, including the Special Rapporteur on Torture. To read the press release in full, please visit the OHCHR website.

Next Steps Towards a Human Rights Penitentiary System in Uruguay: Upcoming Book Launch Seminar in Montevideo, Uruguay

Next Steps Towards a Human Rights Penitentiary System in Uruguay: Upcoming Book Launch Seminar in Montevideo, Uruguay

September 19, 2014 – We are delighted to announce the upcoming launch of our new publication: Next Steps Towards a Human Rights Penitentiary System in Uruguay: Reflections on the Implementation of the 2009 and 2013 Recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, which will take place in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Friday, September 26.  The book launch will take the form a full-day seminar, during which three panels of prominent human rights law and policy experts will address topics discussed in the book, including the reform of the national penitentiary system with a view to advancing human rights and preventing and eradicating torture and ill-treatment, and the state of the juvenile justice system in Uruguay. You can access the agenda here. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez will deliver a special keynote address, and the panelists will represent an array of Government institutions, international organizations, as well as local civil society and NGOs. To read more about the event, please visit our Spanish-language event page.

 

Seminario: Próximos Pasos Hacia una Política Penitenciaria de Derechos Humanos en Uruguay

Seminario: Próximos Pasos Hacia una Política Penitenciaria de Derechos Humanos en Uruguay

18 de Setiembre – El próximo viernes 26 de setiembre se realizará la presentación pública de nuestro libro “Próximos Pasos Hacia una Política Penitenciaria de Derechos Humanos en Uruguay: Ensayos de seguimiento a las recomendaciones de 2009 y 2013 de la Relatoría de Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura” en un evento que comenzará a las 9:00 horas y se realizará en sala de reuniones del edificio UPAEP en Montevideo, Uruguay.  El evento pretende profundizar algunos de los principales temas planteados en el libro con presentaciones y diálogos con los autores y otras importantes personalidades invitadas.  El Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas contra la Tortura, Juan E. Méndez, hará una presentación especial al comienzo del evento.  Para mayor información y para leer la agenda completa, favor abrir este link.

UN Rights Experts Urge Saudi Arabia to Halt Continuous Stream of Executions, Many by Beheading

UN Rights Experts Urge Saudi Arabia to Halt Continuous Stream of Executions, Many by Beheading

September 9, 2014 – Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez and Special Rapporteur on summary executions Christof Heyns have called on Saudi Arabia to implement an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, following reports of an increase in executions by beheading. It has been reported that between 4 and 22 August, 22 people were executed in the country, including behadings for non-violent crimes such as drug-smuggling, sorcery,adultery, and apostasy. In the statement, Special Rapporteur Méndez emphasized that “beheading as a form of execution is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and prohibited under international law under all circumstances.” To read the press release in full, please visit the OHCHR website.
Special Rapporteur Participates in Webinar on Human Rights and Torture in Pakistan

Special Rapporteur Participates in Webinar on Human Rights and Torture in Pakistan

September 8, 2014 – A Webinar on police torture and human rights in Pakistan featuring Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez was organized by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) on September 8, 2014. Panelists addressed a new series of reports documenting the incident of police brutality and torture in Pakistan, with a particular focus on the mistreatment of women and juveniles, and responded to questions posed by viewers. The Special Rapporteur highlighted the State’s legal obligations to prevent, combat, and ensure accountability for all acts of torture and ill-treatment under international law, and addressed the important need to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and to establish an independent body that will be able to carry out unannounced visits to all places of detention. To read more about the JPP’s project on torture, please visit their website. A recording of the Webinar is also available here.
Convention Against Torture Initiative Forum: Governments Confirm Commitment to End Torture

Convention Against Torture Initiative Forum: Governments Confirm Commitment to End Torture

September 3, 2014 – The Special Rapporteur attended the first Forum of the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI), which brought high-level government representatives of 18 States from all regions of the world together with leading UN experts to discuss solutions to challenges faced by Governments in the fight against torture. The CTI was launched earlier this year by the Governments of Chile, Denmark, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT), and focuses on the development long term support and regional and inter-state cooperation as the means for achieving universal ratification and practical implementation of the Convention in the next 10 years. During the meeting, participants agreed that the CTI will serve as an important forum for governments and experts in facilitating new connections, knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and exchanging best practices and expertise with regards to CAT ratification, implementation, and torture prevention efforts. The representatives of the five States spearheading the CTI will brief all UN member states, relevant experts and NGOs about the Convention against Torture Initiative during the upcoming 27th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and a high level CTI side event will also be organised in New York during the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. To read the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release on the first CTI Forum, please visit this link.  More information about the CTI is also available from the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), which has been designated to support the development of the CTI.

Nueva publicación: Próximos pasos hacia una política penitenciaria de derechos humanos en Uruguay: Ensayos de seguimiento a las recomendaciones de 2009 y 2013 de la Relatoría de Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura

Nueva publicación: Próximos pasos hacia una política penitenciaria de derechos humanos en Uruguay: Ensayos de seguimiento a las recomendaciones de 2009 y 2013 de la Relatoría de Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura

August 25, 2014 – El Relator Especial sobre la tortura, Juan E. Méndez y el Anti-Torture Initiative se complacen en anunciar la publicación de “Próximos pasos hacia una política penitenciaria de derechos humanos en Uruguay: Ensayos de seguimiento a las recomendaciones de 2009 y 2013 de la Relatoría de Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura.” Este libro reúne análisis, opiniones, recomendaciones y propuestas de algunos de las voces uruguayas más influyentes en lo que respecta a la promoción de los derechos humanos y la prevención de la tortura y los malos tratos en situaciones de privación de libertad. En respuesta a la propuesta del Relator Especial, los 20 artículos que componen el libro analizan el estado actual de implementación de las recomendaciones de la Relatoría de Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura tras las visitas a Uruguay llevadas a cabo en 2009 y 2012 y destacan los progresos alcanzados y los obstáculos aún existentes, proponiendo acciones y medidas específicas para erradicar la tortura y los malos tratos que pueden resultar de la privación de la libertad en Uruguay.  Para leer el libro y para leer más sobre el trabajo del Relator Especial y el Anti-Torture Initiative en Uruguay visite esta página.