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First official visit to Mexico by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez

GENEVA / MEXICO CITY (16 April 2014) – United Nations human rights expert Juan E. Méndez will visit Mexico, at the invitation of the Government, from 21 April to 2 May 2014 to assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the country.

“I will discuss and assess the implementation of the new criminal procedures legislation, coerced confessions before national courts and the use of ‘arraigo’ detention, among other aspects relating to my mandate,” the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment said.

Mr. Méndez will also examine prisoners’ rights and conditions of detention, in particular those spending years in prison either awaiting trial or serving lengthy sentences and migrants held in immigration detention facilities.

“I look forward to engaging in a constructive manner with key decision makers and leaders in civil society to help the authorities uphold the rule of law, promote accountability, fulfill the right to reparations for victims, and to ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur noted that prompt and impartial investigation into all allegations of torture and the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators is one of the ultimate obligations of each Government under the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“But prompt and impartial investigation also creates an atmosphere of trust and credibility for the authorities, which ultimately leads to a culture of human rights and the well-being of all citizens,” Mr. Méndez stressed.

During his 12-day mission, the Special Rapporteur will travel to several regions, including Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, Chiapas and Baja California, where he will visit prisons, police stations, interrogation centres, juvenile and women’s facilities. He will also visit psychiatric institutions and immigration detention facilities to examine the treatment and living conditions of all persons deprived of their liberty.

The Special Rapporteur will meet with relevant authorities, the judiciary, national human rights institutions, civil society, international and regional organisations, victims and their families.
Mr. Méndez will share his preliminary comments and recommendations at a press conference to be held on Friday, 2 May 2014, at 4:00 pm, at the UN Information Center, Montes Urales Nte. 440, Lomas de Chapultepec, Miguel Hidalgo, 11000 Mexico City, Federal District.

The Special Rapporteur will present a final report to the Human Rights Council in March 2015.

Juan E. Méndez (Argentina) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment on 1 November 2010. He is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Méndez has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights, and has a long and distinguished record of advocacy throughout the Americas. He is currently a Professor of Law at the American University – Washington College of Law and Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. Mr. Méndez has previously served as the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) until 2009, and was the UN Secretary-General Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide from 2004 to 2007, as well as an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, between 2009 and 2010. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx or http://antitorture.org/

Check the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CAT.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Stephanie Selg (sselg@ohchr.org) or Ms. María Noel Leoni (+1 202 604 9120/ mleoni@wcl.american.edu) or write to sr-torture@ohchr.org.

For media requests in Mexico, please contact Ms. Gabriela Gorjón, Information Officer – OHCHR Mexico (+52 55 5061 6374 / ggorjon@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en