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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 43/20 in March 2020.

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

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – A/HRC/46/26

Visit to Maldives - Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – A/HRC/46/26/Add.1

Interim report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – A/75/179

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment - A/HRC/43/49

Visit to Comoros - Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment  - A/HRC/43/49/Add.1

Relevance of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to the context of domestic violence - A/74/148

More reports of the Special Rapporteur ....

Videos

Op-Ed by the SR on Torture to mark Human Rights Day – “The worst cruelty is our indifference” - Transcription

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

UN experts on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: COVID-19 exacerbates the risk of ill-treatment and torture worldwide

Statement by Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, 74th session of the General Assembly

More statements and messages....      

Latest news:


More press releases and statements...

Archived news
(over 3 years old)

Highlights

Call for Input to the SR Torture report on “Accountability for Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”
Closed

Call for input to a report: “Effectiveness of States’ responses and follow-up to communications and visit requests transmitted by the Special Rapporteur on Torture”
Closed

Call for input to a report: Psychosocial dynamics conducive to torture and ill-treatment
Closed

Op-Ed by the SR on Torture to mark Human Rights Day – “The worst cruelty is our indifference”

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

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

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