On January 13, the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) hosted a meeting with the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Dr. Juan Mendez. We're grateful that TASSC invited us to attend this meeting and thankful to work alongside the passionate advocates against torture who were there, including more than twenty survivors of torture from TASSC as well as representatives from the National Religious Campaign against Torture, Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma, Pax Christi USA, Maryknoll Office for Global Concern, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
We were especially inspired to hear Dr. Mendez describe his "victim-centered" approach to his mandate. As Special Rapporteur, a job he stepped into two months ago, Dr. Mendez will investigate individual reports of torture worldwide and work with governments to stop and prevent torture. Being a survivor of torture himself, he has a very special sensitivity to the rights of survivors to information and redress.
At the meeting, Dr. Mendez noted that he is in discussions with the U.S. Government about complaints of torture committed in the name of national security, including allegations regarding the conditions in which Pvt. Bradley Manning is being held in Quantico, Virginia. He also discussed the international status of the U.N. Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and Optional Protocol to the U.N. Convention Against Torture (neither of which has been ratified by the U.S.)
For more about the meeting, please visit TASSC's website: http://tassc.org/blog/2011/01/tassc-hosts-u-n-special-rapporteur-on-torture/