Jump to page content

New Amnesty International publication on state of emergency in Europe

last updated Jan 24, 2017 On 17 January 2017, Amnesty International has released its new report 'Europe: Dangerously Disproportionate: The ever-expanding National Security State in Europe'. Further to the attacks in Europe in the last two years, many countries have invoked and extended states of emergency and other emergency measures. Yet what should be exceptional and temporary powers - Amnesty International reports - have increasingly become permanently embedded in ordinary criminal law. The new report focuses on eight themes, namely states of emergency/emergency laws, principle of legality, right to privacy/surveillance, freedom of expression, right to liberty, freedom of movement, stripping of nationality, and principle of non-refoulement.

UK: Supreme Court released landmark judgment on UK's human rights abuses overseas

last updated Jan 18, 2017 On 17 January 2017, the UK's Supreme Court released the landmark judgment on UK’s international human rights responsibilities "Belhaj and Others v. Jack Straw & Others and Rahmatullah v. Ministry of Defence and Another [2017] UKSC 3." The case concerns the alleged complicity of the UK in torts including unlawful detention and torture allegedly committed by other states, considering the defences of state immunity and the doctrine of foreign act of state, as well as the links with Article 6 ECHR. The Court unanimously rejected the Government’s appeals, and held that State immunity and the doctrine of foreign act of states are no bar to the claims that the UK authorities were complicit in torture and other abuses overseas.

New UN Handbook on Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization in Prisons

last updated Jan 18, 2017 On 16 January 2017 the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched its new 'Handbook on the Management of Violent Extremist Prisoners and the Prevention of Radicalization to Violence in Prisons'. The Handbook, intended for prison staff and policy-makers worldwide, constitutes the first UN technical manual on radicalization to violence and violent extremism in prison settings.

Mexico: SPT concludes its second country visit

last updated Jan 13, 2017 On 21 December 2016 the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture concluded its second visit to Mexico. Further to the visit, the UN torture prevention body 'urged Mexico to focus more on the fight against impunity, including the prompt adoption of the General Law on Torture, which should be in full conformity with relevant international standards.' The SPT delegation was composed of: Mr. Felipe Villavicencio (Head of Delegation), Mr. Enrique Font, Mr. Emilio Ginés Santidrián and Ms. Nora Sveaass. In the coming months the SPT plans to carry out further visits in the following countries: Niger from 29 January to 4 February 2017; and Hungary from 20 - 31 March 2017

Former US military officers urge Trump not to reinstate the use of torture

last updated Jan 10, 2017 In a letter dated 6 January 2017, more than hundred retired US military officials called on the newly elected President Trump not to reinstate the use of torture. Showing concerns for the statements made during the Presidential campaign on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques, the former officers sent a clear message to the President, recalling how torture is unnecessary, counterproductive and, most importantly, in violation of US core values as a nation.

Libya: new report on human rights abuses against migrants

last updated Dec 14, 2016 On 13 December 2016, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published the report 'Detained and Dehumanised: Report on Human Rights Abuses Against Migrants in Libya'. The report covers information on the human rights situation of migrants in Libya, including on abuses and violations of international human rights law, committed in the course of 2016.

Turkey: Special Rapporteur on Torture presents preliminary findings

last updated Dec 09, 2016 The UN SRT, Mr. Nils Melzer, visited Turkey from 27 November to 2 December 2016 at the invitation of the Turkish Government. After the visit, on 2 December 2016, the SRT released its preliminary observations and recommendations. As clarified by the SRT such observations are only preliminary and non-exhaustive, and will be followed by a more comprehensive and updated report to be published in March 2018. During its visit, the SRT had the opportunity to meet, among others, high level ministerial officials, judges of the higher courts, prosecutors, activists and members of NGOs. Moreover, the SRT had unrestricted access to several prison facilities and police lockups and private interviews with inmates. Although in official meetings Turkish authorities emphasised their commitment to a zero tolerance policy on torture, the SRT received persistent allegations suggesting a serious discrepancy between the legal and procedural safeguards put in place and their actual implementation as far as the investigation of alleged violations is concerned. With regard to the measures taken by the Government in response to the failed coup of 15 July 2016, while recognising the imperative of Turkey to protect its citizens and institutions and its right to take extraordinary measures in times of emergency, the SRT recalled that it is precisely in the first hours and days after arrest that the risk of abuse, including torture and other forms of ill-treatment, is highest. To this extent, the SRT stated that prompt access to lawyers and judicial review and systematic monitoring by an effective NPM are indispensable tools to prevent torture and ill-treatment, and reiterated that there is no better deterrent to torture and other ill-treatment than a strong national will to investigate, prosecute and punish such abuse. In addition, the SRT also referred to situation of PKK members in the South East of Turkey and conditions of detention. After reaffirming the absolute and non derogable nature of the prohibition of torture, the SRT concluded with an appeal to the Turkish Government to strengthen its zero tolerance policy on torture and make unequivocally clear to State officials at all levels that they are obliged to report and investigate all allegations of torture and to bring perpetrators to justice.

Committee against Torture concluded its fifty-ninth session

last updated Nov 08, 2016 On 7 December 2016, the Committee against Torture concluded its 59th Session, which was held in in Geneva from 7 November - 7 December 2016. During the session, the Committee considered seven country reports (Ecuador, Finland, Monaco, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Turkmenistan, Armenia) and one country situation (Cabo Verde was reviewed in the absence of a report). The Committees findings on the measures adopted by these eight countries have now been published on the sessions webpage. Furthermore Civil Society Organizations of Australia, Cte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Montenegro, Sweden, Ukraine, and United States of America submitted information to the CAT Committee on the issues to be included in the List of Issues prior to Reporting. The Committee also convened in private to consider communications, including information alleging that torture was systematically being practiced in some States parties, and complaints from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of CAT provisions. Furthermore, the Committee discussed the follow-up to concluding observations under Article 19, to individual complaints under article 22, and to reprisals against persons who cooperate with the Committee. Finally, the Committee has continued its discussion of a draft revised General Comment on article 3 on non-refoulement of a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture. The Committee will next meet from 18 April to 12 May 2017 when it will review Afghanistan, Argentina, Bahrain, Lebanon, New Zealand, Pakistan, Republic of Korea.

New Amnesty International publication on Italy: Hotspot Approach has increased the risk of ill-treatment and other serious human rights abuse

last updated Nov 07, 2016 On 3 November 2016 Amnesty International has released its new the Report Hotspot Italy: How EUs Flagship Approach Leads to Violations of Refugee and Migrant Rights. The Report analyses the implications on the Italian legal system and practice of the so called hotspot approach, introduced by the EU as a response to the recent large-scale arrivals on the continent. Hotspots were designed to provide locations in which irregularly arriving refugees and migrants could quickly be identified, primarily through obligatory fingerprinting, screened to identify any protection needs, and subsequently filtered for the purposes of the processing of asylum applications or return to their countries of origin. Yet, in practice, Amnesty International reported that in its pursuit of a 100% identification rate, the hotspot approach has pushed Italian authorities to the limits, and over, of what is permissible under international human rights law. The implementation of coercive measures to force uncooperative individuals to provide their fingerprints has increasingly become the rule, through both prolonged detention and the use of physical force. It is against this backdrop, that refugees and migrants unwilling to give their fingerprints have been subjected to arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by police. Whilst there is no doubt that the vast majority of police officials keep doing their work spotlessly, consistent testimonies collected by Amnesty International indicate that some engaged in excessive use of force, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or even torture. (p. 6). Moreover, Amnesty International reports that the introduction of an early and swift identification of those in need of protection needs in order to separate asylum seekers from irregular migrants soon upon arrival has had serious consequences on the ability of individuals in need of protection to seek asylum. According to Amnesty International, the screening put in place by the Italian authorised has several limitations, including the fact that is conducted at the wrong time (as soon as individual arrive at the hotspot), with the wrong questions (the form provided by the Italian authorities does not explicitly ask whether they intent to seek asylum); and with insufficient legal information provided by State authorities to potential asylum seekers. Further reasons of concerns were given by the recent repatriation policy of the Italian authorities, which in August 2016 have signed a Readmission Agreement with Sudan. Amnesty International considers that individual returned to Sudan, especially if they are from the Darfur Region, are exposed to a real risk of being subject to treatments contrary to torture and ill-treatment, thus raising issues under the principle of non refoulement. Worrying trends in the developing of the hotspots in Italy were already reported by Italian Parliamentary Commission of Human Rights as well as by civil society organisations such as ECRE and MSF Italy. At the moment there exist 4 hotspots in Italy, namely in Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Taranto, and Trapani. According to the latest information provided by the European Commission, in each of the hotpots there are 22 experts from Frontex and 5 from EASO.

Manfred Nowak to Lead New Global Study on the Situation of Children in Detention

last updated Oct 27, 2016 On 25 October 2016 Manfred Nowak has been appointed to lead the New Global Study on Situation of Children in Detention. Manfred Nowak is Director of the Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights as well as Professor of international law and human rights at the University of Vienna and Secretary-General of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice. He was previously UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. The Call for a Global Study on the Situation of Children Deprived of Liberty was first launched in March 2014 by a coalition of civil society organizations, and with the support of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children and certain Permanent Missions to the United Nations office in Geneva. The Call was then taken up by the UN General Assembly, which in its Resolution A/RES/69/157 invited the Secretary-General to commission an in-depth global study on children deprived of liberty, funded through voluntary contributions and conducted in close cooperation with relevant United Nations agencies and offices, including but not limited to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Childrens Fund, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Children and Armed Conflict and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, as well as the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice, and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including Member States, civil society, academia and children, and to include good practices and recommendations for action to effectively realize all relevant rights of the child, including supporting the implementation of the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and invites the Secretary-General to submit the conclusions of the study to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session (52 (d)). As mentioned in the Call, much remains to be done for the fulfilment of the rights of the child as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially for children deprived of liberty. One of the main challenges in this regard is the great lack of quantitative and qualitative data (particularly disaggregated data), research and verified information on the situation of children deprived of their liberty. This was confirmed by the Secretary General in its press release of 25 October 2016 which stated most countries lack data on the number of children deprived of liberty and on the reasons, length and places of detention. In the same press statement the Secretary General stressed that the personal and societal costs of deprivation of liberty are immensurable. Not only does it inhibit the childs development and ability to live a healthy and constructive life, but it also incurs a financial drain on national budgets. The new Study aims to fill those gaps by collecting good practices and put forward recommendations on what needs to be done to effectively prevent violations of and realize the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Secretary General defined it as a major enterprise and a key instrument of change which will finally check the status of the human rights of children being detained around the world. We wish to warmly congratulate our Director Manfred Nowak on his new role!

Nils Melzer appointed as new UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

last updated Oct 04, 2016 At its 33rd Session (13 30 September 2016), the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva appointed Nils Melzer (Switzerland) as the next UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Melzer, who will succeed the current SRT Juan E. Mndez at the beginning on November, was chosen among 14 other candidates. Melzer has previously worked for many years as a Delegate and Legal Advisor with the ICRC, conducting detention visits and other protection activities in various contexts of conflict and violence. This certainly has been one of the most important experiences of my personal and professional life, providing me with a solid methodological basis for the Special Rapporteur on Torture mandate, he stated in a recent interview with APT. He has also worked as Research Director of the Swiss Competence Centre for Human Rights at the University of Zrich, Senior Fellow for Emerging Security Challenges at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and Senior Adviser to the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. We wish to congratulate Nils Melzer on his new role!

Ghana became the 82nd State Party to OPCAT

last updated Sep 28, 2016 On 23 September 2016 Ghana deposited the instrument of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) to the United Nations in New York. The country had already signed the Optional Protocol in 2006. With Ghana, there are 82nd States Parties to the OPCAT.

Kazakhstan: UN torture prevention body to visit Kazakhstan for the first time

last updated Sep 20, 2016 The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will make its first visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan from 20 to 29 September. The visit will be carried out by Victor Zaharia, Arman Danielyan, Marija Definis-Gojanovich and Paul Lam Shang Leen. As reported by the SPT in its press release of 19 September 2016, the delegation is due to visit prisons, colonies, police stations, guardhouses, correctional rehabilitation centres, psychiatric institutions and other detention facilities. It will meet a number of different stakeholders, including government officials, CSOs, and the National Preventive Mechanism (the Human Rights Commissioner of the Republic of Kazakhstan). The first visit of the Subcommittee will mark an important milestone in the cooperation between Kazakhstan and the UN treaty bodies, said Victor Zaharia, SPT member and head of the SPT delegation.

CAT Committee publishes its new Annual Report

last updated Sep 13, 2016 The Committee against Torture has released its 2016 Annual Report. The Report covers the period from 16 May 2015 to 13 May 2016, i.e. the Committees fifty-fifth, fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh sessions. During the reporting period, Fiji ratified the Convention and San Marino recognised the competence of the Committee under articles 21 and 22. Among the main developments, the Committee reports that 21 States reports were submitted under Article 19, and new concluding observations were adopted on 17 State reports. A Special Report was requested from Burundi. In the framework of the individual complaints procedure, the Committee adopted 29 decisions on the merits and 12 on admissibility. At its fifty-fifth session, the Committee decided to revise the General Comment No. 1 on Article 3.

UN SRT: The UN SRT advocates the development of a universal protocol for interviews

last updated Sep 07, 2016 On 5 August 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, presented his latest interim report to the UN General Assembly. The report highlights that the use of unlawful and improper interviewing practices by law enforcement officials and investigative bodies is still a persistent problem. Noting the growing momentum around issues of investigation, questioning and custody practices, the SRT calls upon States to develop a universal protocol that promotes ethical, non-coercive and evidence-based interviewing practices, and aims at ensuring that no person is subject to torture, ill-treatment or coercion by setting minimum standards applicable to interviews conducted by all agents of all States. Such a protocol would provide guidance for a human rights-compliant interviewing model, including on the general legal framework, procedural safeguards, and accountability mechanisms and remedies. In his report, the SRT recommends that the protocol should be developed in cooperation with the relevant international and regional human rights mechanisms, civil society and experts, and affirmed that a first step in this regard should be to hold a broad public consultation.

Ukraine: UN torture prevention body to resume Ukraine visit 5 to 9 September

last updated Sep 02, 2016 On 31 August 2016 the SPT announced it will resume its visit to Ukraine. Visits were suspended in May 2016 after the torture prevention body was repeatedly denied access to detention facilities. The resumption of the visit follows positive talks between the SPT and the Ukrainian Government. The visit will be carried out by Malcolm Evans (United Kingdom), Marija Definis-Gojanovi (Croatia), and Victor Zaharia (Moldova) from 5 to 9 September 2016. According to the information released by the UN, the SPT will 'examine developments in Ukraine related to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment, and will evaluate how recommendations from the SPTs first visit in 2011, including the need for legal reform, increased institutional oversight to reduce the risk of torture and comprehensive medical examinations of people in detention, have been implemented.'

Comparative study shows: Torture prevention works!

last updated Aug 22, 2016 A comparative study recently published by Richard Carver and Lisa Handley and overall involving more than 20 researchers and covering a 30-year period (1984-2014) provides solid evidence that the risk of torture decreases when preventive measures are in place. The research commissioned by the Association for the Prevention of Torture took place in 14 countries, among them in Kyrgyzstan which was conducted by a team of researchers from the Ludwig Boltzmann institute of Human Rights (BIM) and the Tian Shan Policy Center at the American University of Central Asia. The research specifically emphasised the importance of proper detention safeguards in the prevention of torture. In this spirit the team Human Dignity and Public Security at the BIM is steadily increasing its research on procedural rights in detention as member of the civil society network JUSTICIA .

Philippines: Over 700 people killed in Philippines War on Drugs in 3 months

last updated Aug 08, 2016 Since the three months that have passed, following on from Rodrigo Duarte taking office as the president of the Philippines in May, over 700 people have been killed by police, military and vigilante as part of his pledge to crackdown on drugs. During a speech as part of his inauguration as President, Duarte said If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful. A joint letter written by the International Drug Policy Consortium highlighted the staggering number of extra judicial killings and the complete lack of accountability and due process in a climate of impunity: Instead of ensuring the rights of people suspected of committing drug-related crimes to due process and to a fair trial, the President has called for them to be executed on the spot. Despite reports of killings that involve no violent resistance, the President, Solicitor-General and Chief of Police have assured law enforcement officers that they will be protected against conviction of criminal offenses in the discharge of their anti-drug related duties, thereby implying impunity for extrajudicial killings. The letter urged the UNODC and INCB to call on the president Duarte to inter alia uphold the rule of law and to immediately end the incitement to kill and not to re-impose the death penalty for drug related offences.

Turkey: AI urges access for independent monitors to places of detention amid torture allegations

last updated Jul 25, 2016 Amnesty International has reported accounts of widespread torture and ill treatment in places of detention in Turkey. Amnesty Internationals Europe director John Dalhuisen, said that there were reports of abuse including beatings and rape in detention are extremely alarming, especially given the scale of detentions that we have seen in the past week. The grim details that we have documented are just a snapshot of the abuses that might be happening in places of detention, These reports have surfaced following the events that unfolded in Turkey since the governments response to the recent military coup attempt. The days that followed saw an announcement that the Turkish Parliament had approved a bill seeking to withdraw in part from the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, in April 2016 the National Human Rights Institution of Turkey, which had access to detention facilities in the country to monitor conditions of detention, was abolished. Amnesty International is calling on the government to facilitate immediate access to places of detention for International monitoring bodies.

Nelson Mandela International Day A day to urge all States to implement the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

last updated Jul 19, 2016 To mark Nelson Mandela International Day, experts are calling on States to implement the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. The Rules represent a universally accepted minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners, conditions of detention and prison management, and offer essential practical guidance to prison administrations. UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mndez; the Special Rapporteur on prisons, conditions of detention and policing in Africa, Med Kaggwa; the Rapporteur on the rights of persons deprived of liberty of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, James Cavallaro; and the Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights, Nils Muinieks, in an open statement noted that: The revised Rules represent a universally accepted minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners, conditions of detention and prison management, and offer essential practical guidance to prison administrations...The implementation of the Rules in prisons around the world would significantly improve the treatment of millions of detainees. At the same time, it is useful guidance to help prison staff deliver their important and difficult task in a professional and effective way, benefiting society at large. Speedy and decisive steps towards implementation would truly honor the legacy of the great Statesman and inspirational leader, Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison. Their implementation in prisons around the world would significantly improve the treatment of millions of detainees, the experts stated. At the same time, it is useful guidance to help prison staff deliver their important and difficult task in a professional and effective way, benefiting society at large. The Mandela Rules include key safeguards such as the recognition of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Egypt: Hundreds disappeared and tortured amid wave of brutal repression

last updated Jul 14, 2016 On 13 July, Amnesty International published a report highlighting the surge in enforced disappearances. The report found that hundreds of students, political activists and protesters, including children as young as 14, vanish without trace at the hands of the state. On average three to four people per day are seized according to local NGOs, usually when heavily armed security forces led by NSA officers storm their homes. Many are held for months at a time and often kept blindfolded and handcuffed for the entire period. The report features the detailed cases of people subjected to enforced disappearance, who were held incommunicado and denied access to their lawyers or families or any independent judicial oversight, and includes accounts of torture of victims during interrogation sessions lasting up to seven hours, in order to extract confessions later used as evidence against them during questioning by prosecutors and to obtain convictions at trials.

26 June - International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

last updated Jun 27, 2016 Torture and ill-treatment are universally and absolutely prohibited and to date 159 States have ratified the UN Convention against Torture (CAT), aimed at eradicating such practices. However there is a serious gap in implementing the CAT and torture and other forms of ill-treatment remain a worrisome problem today in the majority of the world. Therefore, on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) is pleased to announce the start of the new project Revision of the Commentary to the UN Convention Against Torture. Under the leadership of Prof. Manfred Nowak, a team of experienced researchers are working on a revised edition of the CAT Commentary to be published with Oxford University Press. The new edition shall provide researchers and practitioners worldwide with a comprehensive and up-to-date guidance on the interpretation of State obligations contained in the CAT and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT). Thereby the research hopes to contribute to the efforts of States and civil society organisations to prevent torture and ill-treatment. The OPCAT, entered into force 10 years ago and establishing a system of preventive monitoring of places of detention, can play an especially important role in this regard. Therefore the Institute has participated in a joint civil society statement urging States to promote its universal ratification, establish effective and independent National Preventive Mechanisms, and implement their recommendations to reduce the risks of torture and ill-treatment. For more information on the Institutes efforts to prevent torture and ill-treatment through research and technical assistance, please visit the website of the Team Human Dignity and Public Security.

Australia: The worst I have seen trauma expert on migration detention centres

last updated Jun 20, 2016 On 19 June, The Guardian published an article on the Australian-run detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guineas Manus Island, based on the incident reports from Paul Stevensons time in the islands detention centres in 2014 and 2015. The psychologist and traumatologist, who was a counsellor on the mental health of the security guards, alleges that asylum seekers detained on Nauru and Manus Island are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than it is the case for victims of other disasters, whether caused by humankind or nature. The reasons behind it are the terrible and dehumanised conditions of detention the migrants are kept in, he explained.

Consultation Workshop for NPMs in Vienna

last updated Jun 01, 2016 After an informative and stimulating workshop for judges in April in Trier, a consultative workshop for National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) will take place on 7 and 8 June in Vienna in the framework of the EU-funded project Strengthening cooperation between the judiciary and torture monitoring bodies in the European Union. The project is carried out by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) and the Academy of European Law (ERA).

This workshop will host around 20 European NPMs to discuss developments regarding EU law and jurisprudence relevant for the monitoring bodies, as well as the potential role of NPMs in contributing to the fundamental rights compliant implementation of the European Arrest Warrant and other relevant Framework Decisions. A key aspect in this regard will be the cooperation between the judiciary and NPMs across EU Member States. The event will additionally provide an opportunity for substantive exchange with a view to extending cooperation among NPMs.

The researchers from BIM and ERA on this theme will present the main findings of the projects baseline study. Several high-level speakers will participate in the exchange and share their expertise with the participants, such as Mari Amos (UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture), Jonas Grimheden (EU Agency for Fundamental Rights), Anton van Kalmthout (European Committee for the Prevention of Torture) and Michal Meysman (Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy). Manfred Nowak, BIM Director, will open the event.

Ukraine: the SPT suspends its assessment mission

last updated May 28, 2016 On 25 May 2016, the SPT suspended its visit to Ukraine after being repeatedly denied access to detention facilities. Malcolm Evans, head of the delegation, stated: This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine's obligations as a State party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. It has meant that we have not been able to visit some places where we have heard numerous and serious allegations that people have been detained and where torture or ill-treatment may have occurred [].

Ukraine: SPT assesses the situation of persons deprived from liberty

last updated May 24, 2016 From 19 to 26 May 2016, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) is visiting Ukraine to assess the situation of persons deprived of their liberty and the safeguards against torture and ill-treatment as a follow-up to its prior visit in 2011. At the same time, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, several human rights organisations supported by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights are trying to put the spotlight once again on the situation in the Donbass region. After the joint report Surviving Hell of September 2015 on the alarming situation in that region, they report that torture is still widespread. Also, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) noted congruent findings. In its report on the human rights situation in Ukraine from March 2016, it outlined the particularly vulnerable situation in the Donbass: the OHCHR continued to receive and verify allegations of killings, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment [].

Romania: SPT concluded its country visit

last updated May 20, 2016 On 13 May 2016, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) concluded its country visit to Romania. The SPT recognised the progress in regard to prison conditions in Romania, and particularly highlighted the positive impact of the increased use of alternatives to detention in the pre-trial phase. The experts, however, urge for further adequate measures, especially to reduce overcrowding in places where people are deprived of their liberty. Additionally, the SPT recalls the importance of a well-funded and independent National Preventive Mechanism to ensure strong safeguards against torture and ill-treatment.

Sri Lanka: UNSRT urges critical changes to combat torture

last updated May 09, 2016 On 7 May 2016, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (UNSRT), Juan E. Mendez, and UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mnica Pinto, concluded their joint visit from 29 April to 7 May 2016 to Sri Lanka. After more than 30 years of armed conflict, the two UN experts assessed the recent situation and remaining challenges regarding torture and other forms of ill-treatment as well as the independence of lawyers and judges on the invitation of the Sri Lankan government. Despite positive trends in the country, the UNSRT outlined that "[] sadly the practice of interrogation under physical and mental coercion still exists and severe forms of torture, albeit probably in less frequent instances, continues to be used." In addition, impunity for the perpetrators, poor conditions of detention facilities as well as procedural shortcomings in trials still cause severe challenges. In his preliminary observations and recommendations, Juan E. Mendez called on the Sri Lankan government to adopt urgent measures to ensure its international human rights obligations as well as to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

SPT: Annual Report highlights the situation of LGBTI persons in detention

last updated May 02, 2016 On 28 April 2016, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) has released its annual report for 2015. The SPT highlights the specific vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in detention. When deprived of their liberty, LGBTI persons are at a higher risk of ill-treatment and torture; the SPT therefore recommends specific measures to States to strengthen the protection of LGBTI persons and prevent abuses against them.

Burundi: Growing use of torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearances

last updated Apr 28, 2016 On 25 April 2016, Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the start of a preliminary examination into the ongoing crisis in Burundi. A crisis that escalated after the re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza for the third time in April 2015 that many claimed to be unconstitutional. In the aftermath of the elections, the police seemed to have used excessive and partly lethal force. Over the last year, the ICC reviewed numerous reports and communications referring to acts of killings, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence as well as cases of enforced disappearances. Based on the examination of the information available, the Prosecutor will decide whether there is a legal and factual basis for an investigation before the Court.

Earlier this month, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, already underlined the gravity of the situation in Burundi. He raised major concerns about the widespread use of torture and ill-treatment. Additionally, the High Commissioner disclosed worrying reports about secret detention facilities across the country. According to observations on the spot, he reported at least 345 cases of torture and ill-treatment for just this year. Reportedly, the abuses mainly take place at the time of arrest, upon arrival or during detention, especially in facilities run by the Service national de renseignements (SNR), the police and, to a lesser extent, the army. At the same time, rebel groups and unidentified armed individuals also increasingly conduct targeted attacks and cause causalities in Burundi. Overall, the situation in the country remains fragile. To ease the acute conflict, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, nominated as the mediator in the dialogue, announced to resume stalled talks from 2 - 6 May in Arusha.

Upcoming consultation workshop for judges: strengthening cooperation in criminal matters between the judiciary and National Preventive Mechanisms

last updated Apr 19, 2016 On 21 and 22 April 2016, a consultation workshop for EU judges will take place at the Conference Centre of the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Trier within the framework of the EU-funded project on Strengthening cooperation between the judiciary and torture monitoring bodies in the European Union.

The project, carried out by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) in cooperation with ERA, intends to increase the cooperation between the judiciary and National Preventive Mechanisms with the aim to improve the rights of detainees within the EU through a more fundamental rights compliant implementation of EU law.

From BIM, Tiphanie Crittin, Gerrit Zach and Moritz Birk will present the main findings of the projects Baseline Study. Several speakers will participate in the exchange and share their expertise with the participants, such as Mari Amos (UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture), Dr. Jonas Grimheden (EU Agency for Fundamental Rights), Dr. Anton van Kalmthout (EU Committee for the Prevention of Torture) or Dr. Nina Marx (Judge at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Bremen).

France: Double punishment for persons with psychosocial disabilities in detention

last updated Apr 13, 2016 On 5 April 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published its report on Inadequate conditions for Prisoners with Psychosocial Disabilities in France. It emphasises that the punitive effect of detention is even hardened in numerous cases for persons with mental health conditions. In general, the number of prisoners with psychosocial disabilities in France is amounting to thousands of detainees. These persons often face stigma and differential treatment in detention. Besides a deficient training for prison guards, the mental health care system is insufficient and of poor quality according to the report. Additionally, persons with mental health conditions are frequently hospitalised if their health situation worsens, with and even without their consent. There, they again face isolation and discrimination due to their status as prisoners. HRW brings up that women with psychosocial disabilities are in an even harsher situation. They often have less freedom of movement and a more limited access to health care.

Amnesty International: Annual survey report on executions 2015

last updated Apr 08, 2016 On 6 April 2016, Amnesty International (AI) published its annual survey report on the death penalty. The total number of executions in 2015 has augmented to at least 1.634 from 1.061 in 2014; the highest number in the last 25 years. Not included in this data are even the figures from China since this information is dealt as a State secret. Experts believe that China remained the worlds top executor by carrying out thousands of executions per year. According to AI, 89 % of the reported executions confine to just three countries: Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. While the numbers of execution raised by more than 50%, the trend towards abolition still continued as well. Four countries have banned the death penalty for all crimes in 2015, namely Madagascar, Suriname, Fiji and the Republic of Congo.

Indonesia: HRW reports abuses and harmful practices against persons with psychosocial disabilities

last updated Mar 23, 2016 On 21 March 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released its report Living in Hell: Abuses against People with Psychosocial Disabilities in Indonesia. The report discloses that persons with mental health conditions still face arbitrary detention as well as outlawed harmful practices, including pasung, i.e. chaining and confinement of a person. Additionally, those in health care centres and other institutions are at risk of involuntary treatment and abuses. HRW acknowledges the steps taken by the government, but at the same time, calls on the Indonesian government to fully comply with its international obligations, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as to ensure and more strictly monitor the implementation of the existing laws.

International Women's Day: UNSRT publishes report on gender perspectives on torture

last updated Mar 07, 2016 On 8 March, International Women's Day, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (UNSRT) publishes his thematic report on the gender perspectives on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The report analyses in the light of the existing international documents against torture, the particular situation of women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex persons (LGBTI); an approach that was lacking for some time, he said in the report. The Special Rapporteur addresses a wide range of issues in his report including sexual and domestic violence, harmful practices such as FGM or forced marriage, as well as human trafficking and the challenges in regard to the health-care and criminal justice systems. On 8 March, the UNSRT will present the report to the Human Rights Council. The presentation and the Interactive Dialogue with the States will be broadcasted live under http://webtv.un.org/.

Greece: CPT published report on country visit

last updated Mar 01, 2016 On 1 March, the Council of Europes Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published the report of its ad hoc visit in April 2015 to Greece, together with the response of the Greek authorities. The visit focused on the implementation of former CPT recommendations, mainly concerning police ill-treatment, prison conditions and the treatment of juveniles in custody. In its report, the CPT concluded that ill-treatment by law enforcement authorities is still a widespread problem. At the same time, it noted that the necessary safeguards against abuses (e.g. notification of custody, access to a lawyer and access to a doctor) lack proper implementation. Also, the investigations of alleged ill-treatments are often ineffective. Additionally, the delegation called for urgent steps against overcrowding, the poor prison health care services and the overall alarming situation in Greek prisons. In this regard, the CPT welcomed the emergency and long-term measures planned by the Greek authorities to address these systematic problems.

New Practical Guide: Monitoring places where children are deprived of liberty

last updated Feb 25, 2016 On 15 February, Defence for Children International (DCI), leading organisation within the framework of the project Childrens Rights Behind Bars, officially presented their new monitoring guidebook. This innovative tool, to which the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute contributed over the last two years, includes a preventive and child-sensitive approach and is the very first European Practical Guide dedicated to the monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty for children, according to DCI. It is available for free in English and in French.

Egypt: Ordered closure of the torture rehabilitation centre

last updated Feb 19, 2016 On 17 February 2016, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that the Egyptian authorities ordered - due to license violations - to close the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture; a center providing medical care and counseling to victims as well as reporting about torture and ill-treatment in police custody. Center representatives raised objection against the administrative decision that doesnt provide any reasons for the closure, according to Aida Seif al-Dawla, one of the founders. The closure, therefore, is postponed to 22 February 2016, when center representatives will meet with the Ministry of Health to discuss reasons behind the order. Closing the Nadeem Center would be a devastating blow to Egypts human rights movement as well as victims of abuse Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East director, said.

Sweden: CPT concludes country visit

last updated Feb 19, 2016 From 18 to 28 May 2015, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visited Sweden. It released - on request of the Swedish Government - the report of the periodic country visit on 17 February 2016. The primary aim was to review the developments since the previous visits with a focus on the safeguards against ill-treatment in police custody and restrictions used against prisoners on remand: In its report, the CPT recalled the importance of systematic and professional medical examination as well as the comprehensive right to information to prevent ill-treatment in police establishments. Additionally, it emphasised that there are no real signs of progress as regards the widespread imposition of restrictions on remand prisoners. The delegation also visited forensic psychiatric establishments, high security prisons and immigration detention centres and made a number of additional recommendations.

Syria: UN Commission releases report on deaths and torture in detention

last updated Feb 11, 2016 On 8 February 2016, the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic released a new report on mass deaths and widespread torture in official and makeshift detention facilities. According to the Commission, thousands of detainees were killed in custody between March 2011 and November 2015. In its report, it accused the Syrian government of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including systematic and widespread murder, rape, extermination, torture in the detention centres, as well as arbitrary imprisonment and enforced disappearances. Not less severe are the charges against non-governmental armed groups and terrorist organisations. The Commission states that the situation of detainees represents an urgent and large-scale crisis of human rights protection and calls for accurate steps to end these massive human rights violations. For the report, the Commission conducted 621 interviews and relied on expanded documentary material, since the Syrian government repeatedly denied it access to the territory.

UN: International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

last updated Feb 04, 2016 Every year, 6 February is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a painful and sometimes lethal practice involving the cutting of female genitalia, and violating a range of rights of women and girls. FGM interferes inter alia with their right to health, security and physical integrity, as well as the right to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. To set an end to FGM, it is necessary to promote the agenda on an international as well as on a grass-root level with a focus on human rights and gender equality. These efforts should emphasise societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice, stated the UN.

Cyprus: UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture concludes country visit

last updated Feb 04, 2016 From 25 to 29 January, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visited Cyprus. All in all, the delegation noted, progress in the treatment of detainees has been observed. However, Cyprus [] still faces several challenges, particularly regarding the independent monitoring of places of detention and the treatment of migrants according to the SPT. It recalled that immigration detention must be applied restrictively and that it has to be seen as a last resort. Additionally, the delegation stated that the Cypriot monitoring body (the National Preventive Mechanism) needed a better financing and a stronger legal position to enable it to implement its mandate properly.

USA: Changes in juvenile offenders rights

last updated Jan 28, 2016 On 25 January 2016, US president Barack Obama announced a ban on confinement in isolation for juveniles in federal prisons. He highlighted that The United States is a nation of second chances, but the experience of solitary confinement too often undercuts that second chance. Meanwhile, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed its judgment Miller v Alabama (2012) and stated that the abolishment of mandatory juvenile life imprisonments without the possibility of release has to be applied retroactively also for persons sentenced before 2012; a practice that has already been applicable in certain, but not all US states. Human Rights Watch (HRW) welcomed the judgment but recalled that still a lot more has to be done to adequately ensure juvenile offenders rights appropriate to their maturity.

Syria: HRW reports widespread torture and ill-treatment in government detention facilities

last updated Dec 18, 2015 On 16 December 2015, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has published a report on mass deaths and torture in detention facilities of the Syrian government. For the report HRW examined the so-called 'Caesar photographs' smuggled out of Syria by a military defector and interviewed relatives and friends, former detainees and defectors. According to HRW the photographs show at least 6,786 deaths in or immediately after custody and reveal "evidence of widespread torture, starvation, beatings, and disease in Syrian government detention facilities."

Iran: Juvenile offenders re-sentenced to death

last updated Dec 16, 2015 On 8 December, Amnesty International (AI) reported that the death penalty for two young men was renewed for crimes which they committed as juveniles. According to AI Iran cemented its shameful status as the worlds top official executioner of juvenile offenders as it continues to impose the death penalty for crimes committed by minors and postponing the execution until the offenders reach 18 years. On 11 and 12 January 2016 Iran is going to be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Committee has already raised its concerns about Irans continuous practice to sentence juvenile offenders to death.

Mongolia: New Criminal Code abolishes death penalty

last updated Dec 16, 2015 On 3 December, the Mongolian Parliament voted in favour for a new Criminal Code that abolishes the death penalty for all crimes. The new law will come into force in September 2016 and Mongolia would then become the 105th State abolishing the death penalty in law. This step was greatly welcomed by the UN and human rights organisations.

SPT announces visiting agenda for 2016

last updated Nov 30, 2015 On 25 November 2015, the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) announced its visiting agenda for 2016. During the first half it will visit Chile, Cyprus, Romania, Tunisia and Ukraine and the second half Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique and Niger. According to the Chairperson, Malcom Evans this is the SPT's "most extensive programme of visits to date".

Bahrain: NGOs report about continuing torture of detainees

last updated Nov 25, 2015 On 22 November, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on torture and ill-treatment in Bahrain. The report comes four years after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) released its report and recommendations to prevent such practices. HRW and other national and international human rights organisations argue that most recommendations still have not been implemented and that the established complaints and investigation mechanisms lack independence and transparency. As a consequence, they observe, detainees still face torture by security forces during interrogations and impunity prevails.

China: Committee against Torture considered report amid NGO criticism

last updated Nov 20, 2015 On 18 November, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) examined the report of China including Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions. Human Rights organisations raised their voice before the review. Human Rights Watch recognised that several reforms in the criminal justice system took place, but Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, highlighted that torture remains a daily reality in China and called for an open discussion at the review. Meanwhile the Chinese Human Rights Defenders reported of reprisals against activists requesting information concerning the report.

Hungary: CPT examines detention of foreign nationals

last updated Oct 30, 2015 From 21 to 27 October 2015, a delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Hungary to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty. In Hungary foreign nationals may be detained under aliens legislation or the recently amended criminal legislation establishing a criminal defence for crossing or damaging the border fence. The delegation visited detention centres for foreigners, police detention facilities, a prison and the two transit zones located at the border with Serbia. They met with representatives from the state, international orgaisations as well as civil society organisations.

Mexico: AI releases report on continuing torture epidemic

last updated Oct 29, 2015 On 23 October, Amnesty International (AI) published a new report Paper Promises, Daily Impunity. Mexicos torture epidemic continues disclosing that the number of complaints by torture victims has increased while impunity still protects the perpetrators. The relevance of the initiative of the recent drafting of a new General Law on torture is recognised. At the same time AI recalls the importance of effective implementation and monitoring to avoid that this bill remains one more good intention on paper.

Czech Republic: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights raises major concerns on the detention of migrants and refugees

last updated Oct 29, 2015 On 22 October, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, criticised the detention conditions and detention policy of the Czech Republic towards migrants and refugees. He expressed his concerns on the violations of human rights of migrants especially of rights of the child. Despite some recent improvements of the completely unacceptable conditions in the detention centre Běl-Jezov, which were revealed last week by the Czech ombudsman, the basic approach has not changed, Zeid states.

Australia: Medical bodies call for the ratification of the OPCAT

last updated Oct 16, 2015 On 16 October 2015, eighteen of the main health bodies of Australia issued a joint statement urging the Australian Government to ratify the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). The health bodies said current systems of oversight of detention centres were failing, and needed urgent strengthening

Kazakhstan: Human rights groups and former UN Special Rapporteur urge to end torture

last updated Oct 16, 2015 On 13 October, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, together with representatives from the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) and the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) met governmental officials in Astana and urged them to promptly implement the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture from 2014.

Turkey: Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture concludes advisory visit

last updated Oct 13, 2015 From 6 to 9 October 2015, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visited Turkey to advise the country on setting up its National Preventive Mechanism. In January 2014, Turkey has designated its National Human Rights Institute as NPM but still needs to adopt "a specific law that provides the NPM with a strong mandate and makes it fully operational, functional, independent and well-resourced, according to the SPT.

UN Committee against Torture: election of five new members

last updated Oct 09, 2015 On 8 October 2015, the UN Committee against Torture elected five new members to take up their position in 2016 for a period of four years. The new members are: Ms. Felice Gaer (United States of America), Mr. Abdelwahab Hani (Tunisia), Ms. Ana Racu (Moldova), Mr. Claude Heller Rouassant (Mexico), Mr. Sbastien Touz (France).

UN launches 'Mandela Rules' on the treatment of prisoners

last updated Oct 08, 2015 On 7 October, the United Nations launched the Revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, called 'Nelson Mandela Rules'. At a high-level presentation in New York, the UN Secretray General welcomed the Mandela Rules as "a great step forward" while also drawing attention to some areas that would need to be strengthened.

Ghana: Special Rapporteur on Torture presents preliminary findings after follow-up visit

last updated Oct 08, 2015 On 7 October, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, presented his preliminary findings to the follow-up visit to Ghana. The four day visit followed up his official mission to the country from 8 to 14 November 2013. Mr. Mendez has welcomed Ghana for the steps taken to combat torture while saying that much remains to be done.

Ghana: Special Rapporteur on Torture conducts follow-up visit

last updated Oct 05, 2015 From 4 to 7 October 2015 the UN Special Rapportuer on Torture (UNSRT), Juan Mndez, carries out a follow-up visit to Ghana to discuss and assess the implementation of his recommendations issued after his mission in November 2013.

Brazil: Discussion on lowering the age at which juveniles can be prosecuted as adults from 18 to 16 years

last updated Jul 06, 2015 Human rights organisations raise their concerns on the call of Eduardo Cunha, President of the Brazilian House of Representatives, to revote on the proposal to lower the age at which juveniles can be prosecuted as adults from 18 to 16 years.

Europe: Conditions in immigration detention centres may amount to inhuman treatment - UN reminds States of their international obligations

last updated Jun 29, 2015 UN experts remind States of their obligations to guarantee international human rights standards also for migrants. At the same time, Amnesty International (AI) reports of conditions in immigrantion detention facilities that are significantly falling below international and national standards and may amount to inhuman or degrading treatment.

International Day in Support of Victims against Torture: BIM publishes study on enhancing impact of NPMs in the EU

last updated Jun 26, 2015 On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) and the Human Rights Implementation Centre at the University of Bristol (HRIC) publish their study on enhancing the impact of torture prevention mechanisms operating in the EU, which highlights the need for a strategic, impact-oriented approach to strengthen follow-up on their recommendations.

United States: Police use of lethal force does not fulfil international standards

last updated Jun 22, 2015 A new report by Amnesty International discloses shortcomings of the authorities of the United States in the implementation of international standards regarding the use of lethal forces by the police.

Cameroon: 84 children illegally detained for six months

last updated Jun 22, 2015 Amnesty International reports of 84 children who are illegally detained for six months. They were arrested in the course of a school raid by Cameroon's authorities where several teachers were accused of running terrorist training camps.

Uzbekistan: Amnesty International reports of "pervasive and endemic use of torture to intimidate and humiliate the few human rights defenders left in Uzbekistan"

last updated Jun 15, 2015 Amnesty International urges UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to reassert Uzbekistan's obligations under international human rights law in order to fight torture and other human rights abuses.

Torture is widespread and systematic in Eritrea according to the UN Commission of Inquiry

last updated Jun 09, 2015 The Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea reports that torture, disappearances, forces labour, sexual violence and extrajudicial executions are widespread and sysemtatic in Eritrea.

United States: New bill could reduce the number of children sentenced as adults

last updated Jun 09, 2015 A new bill which would reduce the number of children deprived of liberty in the adult criminal justice system is up for vote in Florida's full Senate and House.

SPT urges Guatemala to improve its independent monitoring of detention conditions

last updated May 26, 2015 The Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) presented its preliminary observations to the Guatemalan authorities and called for the improvement of independent monitoring bodies.

The UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners were finally passed at the CCPCJ

last updated May 26, 2015 The UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners were revised at the 24th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna and are now to be named "Mandela Rules" in honour of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.

Pakistan: Supreme Court suspended all executions imposed by military courts

last updated May 11, 2015 UN human rights experts welcome the judgement of the Pakistani Supreme Court to suspend all executions imposed by military courts. The system of military courts was established to fight terrorism by the Pakistani authorities but has been heavily criticised since then for its lack of compliance with international human rights standards.

Azerbaijan: The SPT concluded its monitoring visit, which had been suspended in September 2014

last updated May 11, 2015 From 16 to 24 April 2015, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) conducted a monitoring visit to Azerbaijan. The original visit was planned for September 2014 but had to be suspended due to a lack of cooperation by the Azerbaijani authorities.

United States: The American Psychological Association allegedly cooperated with the Bush administration to justify torture methods

last updated May 11, 2015 A group of health professionals and human rights activists published a new report, in which they accuse the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) of secretly collaborating with the US Government under former President George W. Bush to enable the authorities to argue that their enhanced interrogation methods programme in the "War on Terror" did not constitute torture.

Zimbabwe: Brutal police beatings show a complete disregard for the rule of law and a culture of impunity, states Amnesty International

last updated Apr 20, 2015 Brutal police beatings of peaceful protesters in Harare demonstrating against xenophobic violence in South Africa show a complete disregard for the rule of law and a culture of impunity by the Zimbabwean polices forces, stated Amnesty International (AI). AI therefore urges the Zimbabwean authorities to respect peoples rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Uzbekistan: AI stated torture is rampant

last updated Apr 17, 2015 As part of its campaign stop torture, Amnesty International (AI) published a new report on the situation in Uzbekistan stating that torture is rampant and part of the system.

Ukraine: AI found evidence of summary executions by pro-Russian armed groups while a pro-Russian fighter claimed he shot 15 prisoners dead

last updated Apr 13, 2015 Amnesty International (AI) reported that they received footage of extrajudicial killings of several Ukrainian soldiers by armed rebel groups in the Donbass region. At the same time, a Russian fighter confessed the killings 15 Ukrainian prisoners.

Spain: CPT examined the treatment of irregular migrants in Melilla and two detention centres for foreigners

last updated Apr 13, 2015 The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published a report on its latest visiting mission to Spain together with the response of the Spanish authorities. The report focuses on the treatment of irregular migrants deprived of liberty on Spanish territory and shows several grievances.

Bangladesh: Security services proposed amendments to limit the protection against torture

last updated Apr 09, 2015 Bangladeshi security services proposed to amend the Torture and Custodial Death Prohibition and Prevention Act 2013. The proposed changed would defeat the very purpose of the Act and would be a violation of the UN Convention against Torture (CAT), ratified in 1998, according to the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) and the organisation Odhikar.

Italy condemned for acts amounting to torture during the G8 summit of 2001

last updated Apr 09, 2015 Italy condemned under article 3 ECHR: the European Court of Human Rights just found that ill-treatment committed by the Italian police in the Diaz-Pertini school amounted to torture and that Italian criminal legislation concerning the punishment of acts of torture is inadequate.

Zimbabwe: Human rights activist and regime dissident Itai Dzamara still missing

last updated Apr 02, 2015 The human rights activist and regime dissident Itai Dzamara was kidnapped on 9 March, allegedly by Zimbabwean state forces, and remains missing since then. Human rights groups, the European Union as well as the United States are demanding his immediate release and are deeply concerned about his physical and psychological integrity.

Pakistan: UN reports of 48 people executed in the last 4 months and 8000 who remain on death row

last updated Mar 23, 2015 Since December 2014, when Pakistans authorities reversed the death penalty moratorium, 48 people were executed. 8000 people still remain on death row, including several hundreds who were convicted for crimes committed as juveniles. UN experts criticised this practice as a violation of several international human rights treaties to which Pakistan is legally bound . Last week, Muhammad Afza, who reportedly was 16 at the time of the offense, was executed despite interventions by human rights groups.

Georgia: UNSRT presents preliminary findings of the latest country visit: positive accomplishments in the treatment of prisoners since the October 2012 parliamentary election

last updated Mar 23, 2015 Juan E. Mndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (UNSRT), presented his preliminary findings of his latest country visit to Georgia.

UNSRT: Detention of children is inextricably linked with ill-treatment

last updated Mar 18, 2015 The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presented to the Human Rights Council his latest thematic report on juveniles in detention, in which he concludes that the detention of children is inextricably linked in fact if not in law with the ill-treatment of children, owing to the particularly vulnerable situation in which they have been placed that exposes them to numerous types of risk.

Afghanistan: Number of detainees tortured or ill-treated decreased by 14 % in last two years

last updated Mar 02, 2015 The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a new report on the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, in which it welcomed a decrease of 14% in the practice of torture and ill-treatment compared to the previous reporting period two years ago. However, further steps need to be done since one third of the Afghanistans detainees are still exposed to torture and ill-treatment.

Bahamas: Migrants detained under inhuman conditions of detention

last updated Feb 24, 2015 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) examined reports on the treatment of detainees at the main immigration detention centre on the Bahamas and concluded that the detention conditions under which people are deprived of liberty amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Syria: Torture still widespread and systematic and used by all sides

last updated Feb 24, 2015 The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, urged the Syrian authorities to immediately take steps to end the continuing use of torture by Syrian security forces. Amnesty International (AI) also voiced their concern about the systematic use of torture by Syrian opposition armed groups including ISIS.

Australia: Human Rights Commission criticises detention of migrant children

last updated Feb 17, 2015 The Australian Human Rights Commission published a report on children in immigration detention, in which it criticised the Australian government for its constant failure to adequately adopt international standards in the treatment of detained children of migrants and asylum seekers.

Iran: Juvenile offender to be executed after conviction based on evidence obtained under torture

last updated Feb 17, 2015 Amnesty International accuses the Iranian authorities of violating human rights law by executing the now 22-year old Saman Naseem. He was convicted for taking part in armed activities against the state, a crime which he was forced to confess under torture when he was 17 years old.

Iraq: Children tortured, abused and mass-executed by ISIS

last updated Feb 09, 2015 In the beginning of February, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) published its Concluding Observations on the treatment of children in Iraq and accused the militant forces of the so-called ISIS to systematically abuse, torture and kill children.

Philippines: Wheel of torture as part of the endemic torture routine

last updated Feb 02, 2015 Amnesty International (AI) reports about the wheel of torture, which was discovered in a secret detention centre in the Philippines and used by police officers for their own torture show. It is one of the latest discoveries in the endemic practice of torture and ill-treatment on detainees by the Philippines authorities.

USA: Guantnamo Diary exposes daily ill-treatment of detainees

last updated Jan 19, 2015 After a six-year struggle with the US-authorities, Mohamedou Ould Slahi published his book Guantnamo Diary in which he describes his daily life at Guantnamo prison. Mohamedou, who is still detained at Guantnamo, exposes the excessive use of force and ill-treatment by security guards and reveals details of his own torture experiences.

Saudi Arabia: Blogger Raif Badawi publicly flogged

last updated Jan 13, 2015 On 9 January, Raif Badawi, a 30-year old blogger from Saudi Arabia was flogged 50 times in front of a mosque in Jeddah for establishing an online platform to promote political and religious discussions.