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Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Introduction

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1985/33, decided to appoint an expert, a special rapporteur, to examine questions relevant to torture. The mandate was extended for 3 years by Human Rights Council resolution 34/19 in March 2017.

It covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The mandate comprises three main activities:

1) transmitting urgent appeals to States with regard to individuals reported to be at risk of torture, as well as communications on past alleged cases of torture;
2) undertaking fact-finding country visits; and
3) submitting annual reports on activities, the mandate and methods of work to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

Unlike the complaints mechanisms of the human rights treaty monitoring bodies, the Special Rapporteur does not require the exhaustion of domestic remedies to act. When the facts in question come within the scope of more than one mandate established by the Commission, the Special Rapporteur may decide to approach other thematic mechanisms and country rapporteurs with a view to sending joint communications or seeking joint missions.

Latest reports

Interim report of the UNSRT:Seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: reaffirming and strengthening the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - A/73/207
A C E F R S

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - A/HRC/37/50
E (Advance unedited version)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on his mission to Turkey - A/HRC/37/50/Add.1
A C E F R S

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - A/72/178
A C E F R S

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - A/HRC/34/54
A C E F R S

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on his mission to Sri Lanka - A/HRC/34/54/Add.2
A C E F R S

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on his mission to Mauritania - A/HRC/34/54/Add.1
A C E F R S

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment, Juan Ernesto Mendez
A/71/298
A C E F R S

More reports of the Special Rapporteur ....

Videos

Webcast of the Interactive Dialogue of the Special Rapporteur on torture during the UNGA 73rd session

Webcast of Press Briefing by Jens Modvig, Chair of Committee Against Torture (CAT); Malcolm Evans, Chair of Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture; and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture (16.10.18)

Webcast of the Interactive Dialogue of the Special Rapporteur on torture during the HRC 37th session

Webcast of the Interactive Dialogue of the Special Rapporteur on torture during the UNGA 72nd session

Prevention of Torture - Press Conference (13 October 2017)

Webcast of the Interactive Dialogue of the Special Rapporteur on torture during the HRC 34th session

Panel Discussion on Death Penalty - 9th Meeting, 34th Regular Session Human Rights Council

Film on Juan Mendez

I am a survivor of torture myself. As a human rights lawyer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, has dedicated over 40 years to ending torture.

More videos ....

 

Statements and messages

Preliminary observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Nils Melzer on the official visit to Argentina – 9 – 20 April 2018

Statement by Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 37th session of the Human Rights Council

Preliminary observations and recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Nils Melzer* on the official visit to Serbia and Kosovo – 13 to 24 November 2017

Statement by Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 72nd session of the UN General Assembly 

Latest news:


More press releases and statements...

Archived news
(over 3 years old)

Highlights

Questionnaire for the upcoming Human Rights Council report: Corruption and Torture

Brazil: Information note on regional court’s decision on Herzog case in English and Portuguese

Letter from Special Rapporteur on Torture to Global Compact for Migration

Questionnaire, for the upcoming thematic report of Special Rapporteur on Torture (deadline expired)

Migration policies can amount to ill-treatment and torture, UN rights expert warns

UN expert alarmed at Israeli Supreme Court's "license to torture” ruling

"US must stop policy of impunity for the crime of torture"- UN rights expert

Torture is torture, and waterboarding is not an exception” – UN expert urges the US not to reinstate it

Call for submissions on Migration related Torture (deadline expired)

Joint open letter of the Rapporteur and other experts with occasion of UNGA Special session on world drug problem, April 2016

Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of detainees held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay

Submission of the Special Rapporteur to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, 12 March 2013 (in Spanish)

Webcast of the Interactive Dialogue of the Special Rapporteur on torture during the GA 66th session

Reply to Questions Raised by Member States during the Interactive Dialogue at the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly (PDF)

Feature stories


"Hidden" victims: the children of parents on death row
10 October 2013

More feature stories ...

Special Rapporteur

Prof. Nils Melzer,
1 November 2016-present

Former Special Rapporteurs:

Mr. Juan Méndez,
(Argentina), 2010-2016

Mr. Manfred Nowak,
(Austria), 2004-2010

Mr. Theo van Boven,
(Netherlands), 2001-2004

Sir. Nigel S. Rodley
(United Kingdom), 1993-2001

Sr. Peter Kooijmans
(Netherlands), 1985-1993