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17 February 2009 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Manfred Nowa (A/HRC/10/44/Add.4)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowa

Introduction

1. This addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of reliable and credible allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that were brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur, and were transmitted to the Governments concerned. It also contains replies from Governments. This addendum does not illustrate the state of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world, but rather reflects the state of information brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur.

2. The Special Rapporteur would like to recall that in transmitting these allegations to Governments, he does not make any judgement concerning the merits of the cases, nor does he support the opinion and activities of the persons on behalf of whom he intervenes. The prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is a non derogable right, and every human being is legally and morally entitled to protection. When the Special Rapporteur receives reliable and credible information that gives grounds to fear that a person may be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment, he may transmit an urgent appeal to the Government concerned. The communications sent by the Special Rapporteur have a humanitarian and preventive purpose, and do not require the exhaustion of domestic remedies. Governments are requested to clarify the substance of the allegations, take steps to protect the person’s rights, and are urged to investigate the allegations and prosecute and impose appropriate sanctions on any persons guilty of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

3. During the period 16 December 2007-14 December 2008, the Special Rapporteur sent 77 letters of allegations of torture to 48 Governments and 155 urgent appeals to 49 Governments on behalf of persons who might be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Government responses received up to 31 December 2008 have been included. The responses received after that date will be duly reflected in a future communications report.

4. The Special Rapporteur appreciates the timely responses received from Governments to the letters and urgent appeals transmitted. He regrets that many Governments fail to respond, or do so selectively, and that responses to older cases remain outstanding in large part.

5. Owing to restrictions on the length of documents, the Special Rapporteur has been obliged to reduce considerably details of communications sent and received, with attention given to information relating specifically to allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. As a result, requests from Governments to publish their replies in their totality could not be acceded to. Moreover, attention is given to information in Government replies specifically relating to the allegations, particularly information on the following:

(a) What steps were taken to ascertain the veracity of the facts alleged

(b) Has a complaint been lodged by or on behalf of the alleged victim?

(c) The details, and where available the results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to the case.

(d) Full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken (e.g. penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions imposed on the alleged perpetrator(s)).

(e) What compensation and rehabilitation have been provided to the victim or the family of the victim?

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