Special Rapporteur on torture
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
About the mandate
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1985/33, decided to appoint an expert for one year, a special rapporteur, to examine questions relevant to torture. Since 1985, the mandate has been renewed regularly and extended to 3 years, most recently by Human Rights Council resolution 52/7 in April 2023.
The mandate 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:
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;
- undertaking fact-finding country visits; and
- 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.
Current mandate holder
Dr. Alice Jill Edwards (Australia) is the seventh – and first woman – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. Her appointment was announced on 8 July 2022 and her tenure begins on 1 August. A highly skilled lawyer, scholar and negotiator, Dr. Edwards has an established record of sustained engagement on behalf of victims of human rights violations and of critical contributions to the development of standards in international law.
Calls for Input
Latest thematic reports
A/HRC/55/52: Current issues and good practices in prison management - Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Latest country reports
A/HRC/55/52/Add.1: Visit to Ukraine - Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - Advance unedited version
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
8-14 Avenue de la Paix 1211
Genève 10, Switzerland
Email: [email protected]
Seventy-five years after the UDHR enshrined the absolute prohibition on torture we must fight to ensure it is observed - Statement by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Dr Alice Jill Edwards
Briefing of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Dr. Alice Jill Edwards, to the Meeting of the Steering Committee for Human Rights of the Council of Europe
30 November 2023
Keynote: Australia’s Place And Performance in the Global Struggle Against Torture
21 July 2023
Watch on YouTube
Video statement of the Special Rapporteur on torture at an event organised by the National Council for Human Rights and the General Directorate for National Security in Morocco, on “standards and practices for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment during arrest, interrogation and custody”, which took place on 20 September 2022, at the Police Academy in Kénitra.
Watch on Vimeo
Keynote address by the Special Rapporteur on Torture at the Australian National OPCAT Symposium
9 September 2022
Watch on YouTube
View more videos