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21 October 2008

The Special Rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, will visit Equatorial Guinea from 9 to 18 November 2008, at the invitation of the Government of Equatorial Guinea.

In order to gather first-hand information, Mr. Nowak will meet with Government Ministers and officials; the judiciary; the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission; and representatives of non-governmental organizations and international organizations, among others. He will also visit detention facilities.

Mr. Nowak will submit a report, including his conclusions and recommendations, to the Human Rights Council.

Mr. Nowak was appointed Special Rapporteur on 1 December 2004 by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. The Commission first decided to appoint a special rapporteur to examine questions relevant to torture in 1985. The mandate, since renewed under the UN Human Rights Council, covers all countries, whether or not they have ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Mr. Nowak has previously served as member of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances; the UN expert on missing persons in the former Yugoslavia; the UN expert on legal questions on enforced disappearances; and as a judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna, and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

For further information on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, please visit the website: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/torture/rapporteur/index.htm

For use of the information media; not an official record