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Tunisia: UN Special Rapporteur on torture to assess adoption of 2011 recommendations

GENEVA (3 June 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez will undertake a visit to Tunisia, from 4 to 6 June 2014, to follow up on his  recommendations to fight torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment issued after his first visit to the country in 2011.
“I will discuss and assess the implementation of my recommendations in general and the three main challenges for the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment in Tunisia in particular: the access to justice, rehabilitation and reparations, and the conditions of detention in Tunisian prisons and other places of detention,” Mr. Méndez said.

“I hope that my second visit to Tunisia can assist the Government in coping with some of the remaining challenges it faces regarding the fight against torture and in finding solutions that ensure the promotion of human rights and dignity of all persons,” stressed the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

The Special Rapporteur, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government, will meet with key decision makers at Government level, including the Ministry of Justice, Interior and Foreign Affairs, representatives from the Directorate General of Prisons and Rehabilitation, the National Guard and the Judicial Police. He will also meet Tunisian civil society’s leaders engaged in the fight against torture as well as victims and their families.

“I look forward to help the Tunisian authorities to further implement my recommendations, uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for present and past abuses and allegations of torture and ill-treatment, fulfill the right to reparations for victims, and to ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law,” he said.

Mr. Méndez will share his preliminary comments and recommendations at a press conference to be held on Friday, 6 June 2014, at 4:30 pm, at the Hotel Africa, N 50 Av. Habib Bourguiba bp73, Tunis, 1001, Tunisia.

The Special Rapporteur will present a follow-up 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:
Before and after the visit:  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.
In Tunisia, during the visit: Mr. Akram Khalifa, OHCHR Tunisia (+216 98 745 081 / akhalifa@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