with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
“Hay mucho que hacer todavía” dice el Relator Especial sobre la Tortura al Senado de la República de México

“Hay mucho que hacer todavía” dice el Relator Especial sobre la Tortura al Senado de la República de México

20 de Abril de 2016- “Hay mucho que hacer todavía” así concluye la visita del Relator Especial sobre la Tortura y Otros Tratos o Penas Crueles, Juan E. Mendez al Senado de la República de México para discutir al respecto del proyecto de Ley en contra de la tortura.

El 18 de Abril de 2016 el Relator asistió al Senado de la República de México. En su visita se reunió con los senadores de las Comisiones de Derechos Humanos, Justicia y Gobernación en Cámara Alta. El Relator reconoció como importante “el hecho de que el secretario de la Defensa Nacional, Salvador Cienfuegos, haya reconocido públicamente que elementos militares torturaron a una persona y que también la Policía Federal haya reconocido esa práctica, es un cambio de actitud del gobierno en materia de tortura, pero aún es insuficiente.” Coincidiendo en opinión con Luis Raúl González Pérez, titular de la Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH), el cual también destaco que no es suficiente la disculpa ofrecida por el General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda. El relator insistió en que es “un paso al frente, un paso importante que se haga una declaración pública de pedido de disculpas.”

El Relator instó a los legisladores a que tipifiquen la tortura proporcionalmente a su gravedad. También recordó que el Estado tiene la obligación de investigar, procesar y castigar a los responsables y ofrecer reparaciones.

Leer más: http://aristeguinoticias.com/1904/mexico/disculpa-es-insuficiente-la-tortura-es-generalizada-en-mexico-juan-mendez-onu/

“There is still a lot of work to do” with this phrase the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, concludes his visit to the Senate of Mexico to discuss the draft of Law against Torture.

On April 18th of 2016, the Rapporteur attended the Senate of the Republic of Mexico. During his visit he met with the Senators of the Human Rights, Justice and Governance Committee of the Upper Chamber. The Rapporteur recognized as important “the fact that the Secretary of National Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos, has publicly recognized that forces of the military tortured a person and that also the Federal Police have made the recognition of that practice is a change of attitude of the Government with regards to torture, but it is still not enough”. United in his opinion with Luis Raúl González Pérez, head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), he also stressed that the apology offered by the General Salvador Cienfuegos is not enough. The Special Rapporteur insisted that “it is a step forward, an important step that there was a public statement of apology”.

The Rapporteur urged the legislators to criminalize torture in proportion to its gravity. He also recalled that the State has the duty to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and offer reparations.

Tackling the world drug problem: UN Experts urge States to adopt Human Rights approach

Tackling the world drug problem: UN Experts urge States to adopt Human Rights approach

April 18, 2016 – Ahead of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem scheduled to start tomorrow in New York and continue through April 21, several UN experts expressed concerns over the growing abuses coming from the international war on drugs and encouraged those attending to remember the human rights obligations of States when creating any new policies or laws.  The experts  recognized the Special Session as a “pivotal moment to consolidate the integration of human rights and drug policy.”  To find out more, click here.

DC Book Launch: “Hell is a very small place: voices from solitary confinement”

DC Book Launch: “Hell is a very small place: voices from solitary confinement”

April 14, 2016 – The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called the use of solitary confinement cruel and unusual punishment that is often tantamount to torture. Yesterday marked the DC launch of “Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement,” a new book that provides firsthand accounts from 16 current and formerly incarcerated people of what it is like to be kept completely alone in a small cell, often for years or decades on end—offering a perspective that should inform any debate about human rights and prison reform. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez read excerpts from his piece, alongside other distinguished speakers.

The evening featured two of the book’s editors and two contributors who survived solitary confinement, as well as advocates reading from the work of contributors still in prison. Discussion and book signing followed the readings. This event was co-sponsored by the ACLU National Prison Project, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Solitary Watch.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez was featured panelist at Human Rights Center 25th anniversary celebration

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez was featured panelist at Human Rights Center 25th anniversary celebration

April 12, 2016 – The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law celebrated 25 years by hosting a human rights networking event and a day-long conference, featuring panel discussions on the core issue areas of the Center. Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez participated in the panel on enforcing international standards in the fight against torture.  Other participants on the panel included Claudio Grossman, Former Chairperson, UN Committee against Torture, Annie Sovcik, Director, Washington Office, Center for Victims of Torture and Naureen Shah, Director, Security with Human Rights, Amnesty International USA.  The panel was moderated by our own Andra Nicolescu, Assistant Project Director, Anti-Torture Initiative of the AUWCL Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Click here for event highlights, and stay tuned for more photos and video links of the panel discussions.

Boston University School of Public Health Dean’s Symposium Tackles Health Rights of Prisoners, the Public

Boston University School of Public Health Dean’s Symposium Tackles Health Rights of Prisoners, the Public

April 11, 2016 – Last week, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez joined Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health, at Boston University’s School of Public Health quarterly Dean’s Symposium to address Public Health and Human Rights.  Professor Méndez applauded the 2015 US Senate Intelligence Committee report, which was highly critical of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program, but called on the United States to go a step further by releasing the entire report and prosecuting those responsible. To find out more, click here.

What is permissible and what is not when countering terrorism? UN experts welcome new African Guidelines

What is permissible and what is not when countering terrorism? UN experts welcome new African Guidelines

April 8, 2016 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez joined other United Nations Human Rights experts in welcoming the new Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, which were launched this year by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). “Initiatives such as the Principles and Guidelines are undoubtedly steps in the right direction” the experts said. They stressed that all strategies and policies adopted by States to counter terrorism must be firmly grounded in and comply with international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law. It also remains a priority that the death penalty is not used for terrorism-related cases.  To read the entire article, click here.

“Torture is absolutely prohibited because it is immoral, and promoting the use of torture is illegal and immoral as well” says Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez

“Torture is absolutely prohibited because it is immoral, and promoting the use of torture is illegal and immoral as well” says Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez

March 23, 2016 -“Brussels attack: Donald Trump is wrong about torture – it is both immoral and futile,” says Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez. In this compelling new article, the Special Rapporteur rejects the fallacy that the use of torture would thwart terrorist attacks. “Torture is absolutely prohibited because it is immoral, and promoting the use of torture is illegal and immoral as well,” he says. The ban on torture “has developed over centuries from the experience of law enforcement and military leaders who know exactly why it should be banned: because it is immoral, and because it is counter-productive on many levels. This prohibition is an achievement of humankind,” the Special Rapporteur concludes.

Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, participated in the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council last week

Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, participated in the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council last week

March 12, 2016 – During the week of March 7 – 11, 2016, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez participated in the 31st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. During the Session, the Special Rapporteur presented his latest thematic report on gender perspectives on torture and engaged in an interactive dialogue on his recent activities and other topics related to his mandate, including recent country visits to Brazil, Georgia, Ghana, and Mauritania. The Special Rapporteur held a press conference and participated in thematic side-events alongside UN colleagues, State delegates, and civil society partners in Geneva. The side-events explored the topics of children deprived of liberty, gender perspectives and torture, and Guantanamo Bay, among other topics.

Para ver la presentación del Relator Especial de la ONU sobre la Tortura, haga un clic aquí.

To view the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s presentation with English interpretation, click here.

To watch the Interactive Dialogue with responses and statements by Member States and NGOs with English interpretation Part I, click here and Part II, click here.

Para ver el diálogo interactivo con declaraciones del Relator Especial de la ONU sobre la Tortura y otros, haga un clic aquí.

Japan/S. Korea: “The long-awaited apology to ‘comfort women’ victims is yet to come” — UN rights experts

Japan/S. Korea: “The long-awaited apology to ‘comfort women’ victims is yet to come” — UN rights experts

March 11, 2016 – Experts from the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women raised concerns about the agreement between Japan and South Korea as regards the ‘comfort women’, stating that the agreement “falls short of meeting the demands of survivors.”  Neither the survivors nor the organizations representing them for decades were consulted in preparation of the agreement.  Experts pointed out that “[i]t is the responsibility of States to put an end to impunity by condemning and addressing sexual and other violence against women and girls used as a war weapon, and by upholding women victims’ right to redress.”  The experts also noted that the agreement between the two nations fails to meet standards of State accountability for gross human rights violations and did not follow a proper consultation process.  To read more, visit the OHCHR website here.

“It’s not just about closing Guantánamo, but also ensuring accountability:” UN human rights experts

“It’s not just about closing Guantánamo, but also ensuring accountability:” UN human rights experts

February 26, 2016 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez and other United Nations have urged US President Barack Obama to ensure that proper investigations into and full accountability for human rights violations are part of his plans to close the Guantánamo Bay detention centre. “In order to turn the page completely, US authorities must ensure independent and impartial investigations and prosecutions into all credible allegations of violations carried out within this context, such as extraordinary rendition, torture and secret detention,” the experts stressed, adding that findings should be made public and that those responsible must be brought to justice. They expressed the hope that the plans to close the Guantánamo detention facility will be implemented without delay, with detainees transferred to regular mainland detention facilities.  “Any detainees must be held under the conditions that respect international standards, including those under international humanitarian law and the ‘Mandela Rules’ – the Revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs),” the experts concluded.  To read the press release in full, click here.