Juan E. Méndez was appointed Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (SRT) by the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2010 for a period of three years, to investigate and report on issues involving torture worldwide. In March 2014, the Human Rights Council extended the Special Rapporteur’s mandate for an additional three years in a resolution.
The mandate of the SRT was established in 1985 as a thematic Special Procedure under the now extinct Commission for Human Rights. The SRT today operates under the umbrella of the Human Rights Council, together with the other UN Special Procedures Mechanisms. The Special Procedures consist of independent human rights experts who work individually as Special Rapporteurs, or as members of Working Groups, with specific mandates to monitor, advise, and publicly report on human rights issues from a thematic or country specific perspective.
Juan E. Méndez is the fifth person appointed to this position, following Sir. Peter Kooijmans (1985-1993), Sir. Nigel S. Rodley (1993-2001), Mr. Theo van Boven (2001-2004), and Mr. Manfred Nowak (2004-2010).