Méndez Principles: Fresh calls for effective interviewing at Human Rights Council

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Calls for authorities to shift from coercive interrogations to effective interviewing, in line with the Méndez Principles, figured prominently at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. 

On 14 March, Dr Alice Jill Edwards, the new UN Special Rapporteur on torture, presented her first thematic report to the Human Rights Council. The report calls for torture investigations to rely on, among others, humane and non-coercive interviewing techniques, such as those presented in the Méndez Principles. 

Investigators, prosecutors and judges must be attuned to and be trained in the particularities of torture victims, especially the effect of trauma on testimony. I am requesting States to adopt officially – if they have not yet done so - the Istanbul and Minnesota Protocols, as well as the Méndez Principles on investigative interviewing.

Dr Alice Edwards, UN Special Rapporteur on torture

During the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur, several States used their oral statements to refer to the Méndez Principles as a crucial tool to prevent torture and called for their implementation and use during torture investigations, including through training and education. Such statements were delivered by Argentina, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.  

The APT also delivered an oral statement stressing the preventive and corrective aspects of torture investigations and the key role that the Méndez Principles play within such processes.  

The Méndez Principles were also referred to during the general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, which took place on 17 March.  

They were described as one of the great achievements so far in the fight against torture in the oral statement by CTI States of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, and Morocco.  

These statements demonstrate the growing international recognition of the Méndez Principles, building on: 

The APT looks forward to continued engagement with States and partners in the coming months to promote support for and implementation of the Méndez Principles. 

Staff members