with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
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.

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

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

August 25, 2014 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez and the ATI are delighted to announce the publication of our Spanish-language volume on 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!  The nearly 300 page volume features essays by more than 20 Uruguayan legal and human rights experts, academics, and policy-makers representing a broad range of perspectives and experiences, reflecting on the progress and challenges facing Uruguay’s system of deprivation of liberty with a view to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in the context of detention. You can access an electronic copy of the book and learn more about about the Special Rapporteur’s and the ATI’s work in Uruguay by visiting this page.

Human Rights Law Centre Interview with Juan Mendez, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture

Human Rights Law Centre Interview with Juan Mendez, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture

August 22, 2014 – The Australian Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) has published a new interview with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez. The interview provides an insight into the Special Rapporteur’s work and commitment to combating torture worldwide. In the interview, the Special Rapporteur discusses various aspects of his mandate, including working methods and activities like country visits and the drafting and presentation of thematic reports before the UN Human Rights Council. He also discusses the challenges posed by his work, as well as the urgent need to foster a global consensus in public opinion that torture is unequivocally immoral and illegal and cannot be accepted under any circumstances. To read the interview in full, please visit the HRLC’s website.

 

UN Statement on Prospective Constitutional Reform to Lower Age of Criminal Responsibility Echoes Special Rapporteur’s Concerns Regarding Juvenile Justice and Conditions of Detention in Uruguay

UN Statement on Prospective Constitutional Reform to Lower Age of Criminal Responsibility Echoes Special Rapporteur’s Concerns Regarding Juvenile Justice and Conditions of Detention in Uruguay

August 4, 2014 - The United Nations Country Office in Uruguay has issued a public statement expressing concern about the negative impact of the potential adoption of a draft constitutional reform that aims to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 16 in the State.  The amendment will be submitted for a vote in a popular referendum in October 2014.  The new declaration echoes concerns expressed by Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez after his 2012 visit to Uruguay.  In his report, the Special Rapporteur called on the Government to reflect on the potential effect that lowering the age of criminal responsibility could have on the already precarious conditions of detention faced by both adults and juveniles in Uruguay.  To read the Statement in full, please visit the UN website. More information on the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Uruguay and to access his report, please visit our Uruguay country page.

La Oficina de Naciones Unidas en Uruguay emitió un comunicado expresando preocupación respecto al negativo efecto que puede tener la aprobación de una reforma constitucional que se vota en octubre de 2014 que propone bajar la edad de imputabilidad penal a 16 años de edad. La declaración hace eco de la preocupación que el Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la tortura, Juan E. Méndez emitió al respecto de esta propuesta en su informe de seguimiento tras visitar Uruguay en 2012. En su informe, el Relator llamo a “reflexionar sobre el posible efecto que la reforma constitucional de reducción de la edad de imputabilidad pudiera tener sobre las ya precarias condiciones de detención de los menores y adultos.” Puede leer el informe del Relator aquí.

Special Rapporteur Deeply Disappointed as Gambia Government Derails Visit at the Last Minute

Special Rapporteur Deeply Disappointed as Gambia Government Derails Visit at the Last Minute

August 12, 2014 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez and the Special Rapporteur on summary, extrajudicial and arbitrary executions Christof Heyns have expressed deep disappointment with the unilateral decision taken by the Gambian Government to postpone their visit to the West African country. The six-day visit was scheduled to begin on August 12. In a letter dated August 6, 2014, the Gambian Government informed the Special Rapporteurs that the visit is no longer suitable due to an “unexpected commitment.” The Special Rapporteurs have reached out to the Government for an explanation but have received none to date, stating that “[w]e find it extremely worrying that a major undertaking dealing with issues such as unlawful killings and torture can be cancelled without explanation, just as it is about to start.” While the Government proposed a delay until early 2015, the Special Rapporteurs stressed that the lack of information about the reasons for the delay gives rise to legitimate concerns about whether the visit will actually take place. “The Government’s decision to postpone our visit casts doubt on The Gambia’s willingness to engage with the United Nations’ special procedures and to respond to the legitimate expectations of the human rights constituency in Gambian civil society,” they noted, and further explained that interlocutors at the local, national, and international level, including civil society organizations, victims of human rights abuses and their families viewed the visit as an important opportunity for dialogue. In this context, the independent experts urged the Gambian authorities to honor the commitments made to the UN Universal Periodic Review process in 2012, which included included the acceptance of a recommendation to welcome a visit by the mandate on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other special procedures. “We continue to make ourselves available to the Government with the expectation that we will receive an explanation and set new dates for our visit as soon as possible. We continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in The Gambia,” they concluded. To read the press release in full, please visit the OHCHR website.