Call for input to a report: Impact of thematic reports presented by the Special Rapporteur on Torture

31 August 2021
Issued by:
The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
To inform the Special Rapporteur’s thematic report to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 49th Session in March 2022


The mandate of the Special Rapporteur covers any act or omission amounting to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (hereafter: torture and ill-treatment) under applicable international customary and treaty law. The Special Rapporteur is mandated to examine questions relating to the prohibition, prevention, investigation and redress of such abuse in all current and aspiring member States of the United Nations, regardless of their treaty obligations.

The Council stressed that the mandate holder shall discharge his or her duties in accordance with Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 (institution building) and 5/2 (Code of Conduct), of 18 June 2007, and the annexes thereto. In particular, HRC resolution 43/20, in its first paragraph, mandates the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, ”(c) To comprehensively study trends, developments and challenges in relation to combating and preventing torture and ill-treatment, and to make recommendations and observations concerning appropriate measures to prevent and eradicate such practices; (d) To identify, exchange and promote best practices on measures to prevent, punish and eradicate torture and ill-treatment; (e)To integrate a gender perspective and a victim-centred approach; (g) To report on all of the mandate’s activities, observations, conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council, and annually on relevant overall trends and developments to the General Assembly, with a view to maximizing the benefits of the reporting process.”

Furthermore, recognizing the importance of the work of the Special Rapporteur in the prevention and fight against torture and ill-treatment, the Council urges States, most notably: “(a) To cooperate fully with and to assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks, …; (d) To ensure proper follow-up to the recommendations and conclusions of the Special Rapporteur (…).”


With a view to assess the impact of his mandate on the States’ commitment to prevent, prohibit and redress torture in law and in practice, the Special Rapporteur presented his conclusions to the 46th session of the HRC regarding the effectiveness of States’ responses and follow-up to communications and visit requests. To complete his assessment, the Special Rapporteur aims to evaluate the impact of his thematic reports as a driver of change in laws, policies, and practices towards the eradication of torture and ill-treatment.

Since the beginning of his tenure, the Special Rapporteur has presented a total of eight1 thematic reports to the HRC and the General Assembly (GA) covering a broad range of topics and trends relevant to the implementation of the worldwide normative and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, investigation, prosecution and redress of torture and ill-treatment. In this context, the Special Rapporteur intends to:

  • conduct a comprehensive study, based on broad consultations with States, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders2 through a questionnaire, evaluating the impact of thematic reports presented by the Special Rapporteur in the respective national contexts of current and aspiring UN member States, and
  • where appropriate, recommend effective measures to be taken by States in order for them to integrate the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur into their policy and legal frameworks with a view to enhancing compliance with their universally recognized legal obligations arising from the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.

Contributions received

1 The initial report the Special Rapporteur (A/HRC/34/54) outlined the priorities and the vision of the mandate and did not include recommendations for implementation by States. It is therefore not evaluated in the framework of this Questionnaire.

2 Such as National Human Rights Institutions, National Mechanisms for the Prevention of Torture and other monitoring bodies.