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

Juan E. Mendez, 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: http://www.justplanet.org.uk/.

First Official Visit to Mauritania

First Official Visit to Mauritania

January 27, 2016 – This week, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez kicked-off his first official country visit to Mauritania. The Special Rapporteur will visit Nouakchott and spend several days in the interior of the country, including the east and the south, to assess the situation of torture and other ill-treatment. During this time, he will meet with government authorities, civil society, and victims and their families, and visit places of detention. “My primary task is to engage with decision-makers and key actors to help the authorities uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for abuses and investigate and prosecute allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and to fulfill the right of reparations for victims,” the Special Rapporteur stated at the start of the visit. The visit takes place as the country faces security challenges linked to terrorist threats and attempts in the Sahel region and as it must also cope with its role as a transit destination for many migrants from neighboring countries and sub-Saharan Africa.  For more information, visit the OHCHR website here.

 

 

Guantánamo Bay, 14 years on – Rights experts urge the US to end impunity and close the detention facility

Guantánamo Bay, 14 years on – Rights experts urge the US to end impunity and close the detention facility

January 11, 2016 – On the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez has joined other independent UN Human Rights Experts and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in calling for the facility’s closure. In an open letter to the United States government, the experts again reiterated their call for the closure of Guantánamo Bay and the need for “the United States [to] . . . clean up its own house – impunity only generates more abuses, as States do not feel compelled to stop engaging in illegal practices.” The experts further stated that “[t]he United States must demonstrate leadership and commitment to ensure that international law principles are upheld.” The experts urged the Government to end impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed during the so-called “global war on terror” and investigate and prosecute those responsible. To read the full press release, please visit the OHCHR website.

UN Experts Urge Saudi Arabia to Halt Execution of Palestinian Poet

UN Experts Urge Saudi Arabia to Halt Execution of Palestinian Poet

December 15, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez endorsed a call by other independent United Nations human rights experts urging Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who was sentenced to death on 17 November for the crime of ‘apostasy’ based on a collection of poems published in 2008 and the testimony of a single witness, who claims he had heard the poet make blasphemous comments at a cafe. “The death penalty imposed on Mr. Fayadh for his poetry is in violation of international human rights law and amounts to a grave violation of freedom of artistic expression,” the experts stated, adding that “the promotion of such a violent response against a legitimate form of opinion and expression has a widespread chilling effect across all of Saudi society.”  To read the full article, click here.

On Human Rights Day, Find Out What Motivates Human Rights Activists

On Human Rights Day, Find Out What Motivates Human Rights Activists

December 10, 2015 –  On the occasion of ‪#‎HumanRightsDay, the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law asked ten inspirational activists, scholars, and human rights defenders, including United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez what motivates them to champion ‪#‎HumanRights. Take a moment to read their reflections and to share what it means to you to‪ #‎ChampionWhatMatters! To find out more, click here.

Juan Mendez quote

UN Experts Welcome the Security Council Call on Burundi and Urge Concrete Actions

UN Experts Welcome the Security Council Call on Burundi and Urge Concrete Actions

November 18, 2015 – Last week, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez and other independent United Nations Human Rights experts expressed outrage over the situation of human rights in the country, warning that “the country is going towards an unacceptable path of atrocities” as the situation continues to deteriorate with “daily reports of serious human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, attacks on independent media and harassment and killing of human rights defenders, unjustified limitations on freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression, adding to more than 200,000 persons displaced by violence.” Whilst welcoming the Security Council’s clear message on the situation in Burundi in its new Resolution 2248 (2015), which condemns the increase in cases of human rights violations and abuses in the country, the experts stressed that “actions should now follow and provide concrete responses fitting the magnitude of the risks at stake, for Burundi and the region.”  To read the full article, click here.

CONFLICT & CONVENTIONS: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY ON TORTURE

CONFLICT & CONVENTIONS: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY ON TORTURE

November 16, 2015 – This morning Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E Mendez joins former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp and other panelists for a discussion entitled “Conflict and Conventions: Government Accountability for ‪#‎Torture‬” at the American Red Cross. The discussion is available for viewing here.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Convenes Expert Consultation

Special Rapporteur on Torture Convenes Expert Consultation

November 12, 2015- Last week, the Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez convened a two-day consultation with more than 30 experts from NGOs, international organizations, and universities to inform the drafting of his upcoming thematic report on gender perspectives on torture. The report, which will specifically address the unique experiences of women, girls, and LGBTI persons from the perspective of torture and other ill-treatment in international law, will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2016.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Welcomes Release of Journalist Hossam Bahgat in Egypt

Special Rapporteur on Torture Welcomes Release of Journalist Hossam Bahgat in Egypt

November 11, 2015- United Nations Human Rights experts on the freedom of opinion and expression and on the situation of human rights have welcomed the release of journalist Hossam Bahgat, but warn that concerns remain on the situation of journalists and rights defenders in Egypt. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez has endorsed the statement.

“Hossam Bahgat has been a leading member of the human rights community in Egypt for well over a decade, shining a spotlight on abuses through his fact-finding and investigative journalism,” said David Kaye. According to reliable information, Mr. Bahgat was detained by military authorities on 8 November, during investigation solely based on his writing and work as journalist, and was then released today. “Even after his release, his detention sends a signal of disrespect for the very principles of freedom of expression that President Sisi only days ago claimed his government upheld,” added the UN expert.

“We are deeply concerned that the fear of criminalization and of being detained, even if not ultimately charged, creates an environment that deters reporting and intimidates writers and activists of all kinds,” said Michel Forst. “This adds to the already very difficult environment in which journalists and human rights defenders operate in Egypt. According to credible reporting, we understand that dozens of reporters are being held by Egyptian authorities today,” the UN experts stressed.

To read the full press release, please click here

 

El Relator Especial expresa su apoyo al proyecto de ley en Argentina que establece una Comisión de la Verdad durante la dictadura de 1976 – 1983

El Relator Especial expresa su apoyo al proyecto de ley en Argentina que establece una Comisión de la Verdad durante la dictadura de 1976 – 1983

10 de Noviembre de 2015- El relator especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la Tortura Juan E. Méndez y otros expertos en derechos humanos de la ‪ONU‬ expresaron hoy su apoyo sobre un proyecto de ley en Argentina que establece una Comisión de la Verdad sobre la Complicidad económica, que se está discutiendo ahora en el Senado del país. Esta comisión evaluará el papel y la responsabilidad de los agentes económicos durante la dictadura de 1976 – 1983. “Dar claridad sobre el papel de estos actores sería una importante contribución a la verdad, justicia, reparación y a la garantía de no repetición”, señalaron. Via ONU Derechos Humanos – América del Sur

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