Welcome to the new Special Rapporteur on Torture
FIACAT would like to congratulate Mr. Juan E. Méndez on his appointment as new United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Mr. Juan E. Méndez is president emeritus of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and currently a visiting professor at the American University Washington College of Law. He served as United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide from 2004 to 2007 after a distinguished career in human rights advocacy and jurisprudence, including as president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The UN Commission on Human Rights (the predecessor of the Human Rights Council) first appointed a special Rapporteur to examine questions of torture in 1985. The Rapporteur is able to examine relevant matters in all countries, whether or not they are parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Mr. Méndez succeeds Manfred Novak of Austria. His nomination was endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 29.
Mr Mendez took up his three-year mandate on 1 November 2010. He intends to : take a victim-centred approach ; work to restore the absolute prohibition against torture ; coordinate with CAT, the Sub-Committee and relevant regional and sub-regional systems ; condemn and name States systematically using torture ; seek reforms and reduce the incidence of torture using dialogue and cooperation ; insist on accountability for all incidences of torture ; promote international criminal justice mechanisms ; insist on the exclusion of evidence obtained using torture ; work on the limits to pre-trial detention ; insist on the principle of non-refoulement in relation to deportation and extradition cases ; ensure careful scrutiny of diplomatic assurances ; maintain a high number of country visits and use country reports to further dialogue with States ; prioritise follow-up visits ; address the treatment and conditions of detainees.
FIACAT is convinced that Mr. Juan E. Méndez will make full use of his expertise and experience in his new and important position, and we look forward to collaborating with Mr. Juan E. Méndez in the future.