UN Special Rapporteur on torture to visit Sri Lanka in January
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 November 2006, 13:57 GMT]
Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Raporteur on Torture, will visit Sri Lanka from 27 January to 2 February 2007 and submit a report to United Nations Human Rights Council, after meeting with Sri Lankan Government officials, the judiciary, Human Rights Commission, parliamentarians, NGO representatives and visit the detention centres. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Spokesperson at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, José Luis Díaz, in a press statement issued on Tuesday, announced the decision on the visit by the Special Rapporteur.
The Special Rapporteur reports annually to the Commission on Human Rights on the activities which he has undertaken since the Commission's previous session. He may also make observations on specific situations, as well as conclusions and recommendations, where appropriate.
With regard to countries in which visits have been carried out, the Special Rapporteur periodically reminds Governments concerned of the observations and recommendations formulated in the respective reports, requesting information on the consideration given to them and the steps taken for their implementation, or the constraints which might have prevented their implementation.
Nowak, an Austrian, was appointed Special Rapporteur on 1 December 2004 by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. The Commission first decided to appoint a special rapporteur to examine questions relevant to torture in 1985. The mandate, since assumed under the UN Human Rights Council, covers all countries, whether or not they have ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Nowak has previously served as member of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances; the UN expert on missing persons in the former Yugoslavia; the UN expert on legal questions on enforced disappearances; and as a judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna, and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.