Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
June 29, 2014 – In a recent Spanish-language interview with Diario Libre, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, discussed the situation of torture and ill-treatment on the ground in Latin America. The Special Rapporteur noted that each country has its own distinct phenomenon of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, but that such unlawful practices occur throughout Latin America today. He further commented that democracies have practical, moral, and legal reasons to combat torture and that torture erodes society’s trust in the police force, making it more difficult to combat crime. To read more please visit this page.
June 23, 2014 – In a new Spanish-language interview with La Informacion, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez discussed several topics, including recent reforms away from universal jurisdiction in Spain, which he identified as a step back in the fight against impunity for systematic violations of international human rights law, including torture. The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about the fact that instances of torture and ill-treatment in the context of counter-terrorism are sometimes identified as “inevitable,” in contravention of fundamental principles of international human rights law. To read the full article, please visit this page.
May 30, 2014 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez and other independent UN human rights experts have emphasized that the UN Security Council’s decision not to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) “leaves the door wide open for new atrocities in the ongoing conflict.” The experts stated that last week’s double veto of a resolution referring the Syria situation to the ICC is likely to expose the Syrian population to further gross human rights abuses and humanitarian law violations. “The failure to hold those responsible for the violations to account may fuel further atrocities,” they continued. A referral to the ICC would have been an “important and most necessary step both to protect civilians against continued and future violations by all sides to the conflict, and to curb impunity for the grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law, some amounting to crimes against humanity,” the experts concluded. To read the press release in full, please visit the OHCHR website.