Human rights experts and government officials from 11 countries today began a United Nations-backed meeting aimed at eradicating torture from Latin America and the Caribbean, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Méndez said the meeting of more than 40 experts – which is taking place in Santiago, Chile – is the first in a series of such regional conferences that he expects to convene. Attending the meeting are representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, México, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
“Torture and ill-treatment is a major concern in Latin America and the Caribbean region,” said Mr. Méndez, “and much remains to be done to ensure that States’ international obligations, national policies and legislative as well as other reforms are effectively implemented to achieve the desired result: torture’s eradication.”
“Over the past decade, some promising policies, reforms and legislation have been promulgated in the region,” he said. “However, these institutional developments and good national practices are vital and need to be further enhanced, strengthened and replicated across the region.”
“I am hopeful that this consultation will provide a much needed push in our efforts to eradicate torture and ill-treatment in the region.”
Mr. Méndez serves in an independent and unpaid capacity and reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.