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United Nations Expert on Torture begins fact-finding visit to the Kyrgyz Republic

2 December 2011

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, will undertake a visit to the Kyrgyz Republic from 5 to 13 December at the invitation of the Government. The visit was initially scheduled in May 2011, but was postponed at the request of the Government.

“The authorities have taken a number of steps to investigate the facts and circumstances of the events of June 2010 in Osh and its surrounding provinces by, inter alia, supporting the establishment of the mandate of “The Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the events in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010,” noted Mr. Méndez.

“The aim of my the visit is to engage with decision-makers and key actors on various aspects relating to my mandate, including to assist the Government, in an objective and impartial manner, in its efforts to investigate the circumstances of the June 2010 events, promote accountability for abuses and allegations of torture and ill-treatment, ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law and fulfill the rights to reparations for victims of torture and ill-treatment,” Mr. Méndez said.

The independent expert will meet with Government officials, civil society members and representatives of United Nations agencies and international organizations. Mr. Méndez will meet alleged victims and their families. He will also gather first-hand information in places where persons are deprived of their liberty in Bishkek, Osh and Djalal-Abad.

Mr. Méndez will share his preliminary comments and recommendations at a press conference to be held on Tuesday, 13 December at 11:00 a.m. at the Information Agency Akipress, #189 Moscowskaya St., Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, 720010, tel. + 996 312 65 02 02, Head of the Center, Ms. Rabiga Sydykova. The Special Rapporteur will report on his visit to the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012.
The mandate of Special Rapporteur covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Kyrgyz Republic ratified the Convention in 1997.

Juan E. Mendez (Argentina) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on 1 November 2010. He is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Mendez has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights, and has a long and distinguished record of advocacy throughout the Americas. He is currently a Professor of Law at the American University – Washington College of Law and Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. Mr. Mendez has previously served as the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) until 2009, and was the UN Secretary-General Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide from 2004 to 2007, as well as an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, between 2009 and 2010.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/torture/rapporteur/index.htm

Check the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat.htm

OHCHR Country Page – Kyrgyzstan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/KGIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Shushan Khachyan (Tel: +41 79 444 6129) or Ms. Nuriana Kartanbaeva (Tel.: + 996 312 38 82 49; email: nkartanbaeva@ohchr.org.kg.

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For use of the information media; not an official record