Méndez Principles: Support grows at UN General Assembly

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

More than 50 States from all global regions joined a statement in support of the Méndez Principles on Effective Interviewing that was presented to the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The statement, delivered by Chile during the Third Committee’s interactive dialogue with UN torture prevention mandate holders on 14 October 2022, stressed the value of the Méndez Principles as a new approach to replace coercive interrogations with rapport-based interviewing and human rights safeguards.

As part of the interactive dialogue, the new UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Dr Alice Edwards, recommended the Méndez Principles to all States.

“We are delighted to see this growing, cross-regional support for the Méndez Principles at both the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council,” said APT Secretary General Barbara Bernath.

On 13 October, the day before the joint statement was delivered, the APT and the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations in New York co-organised a side event to discuss the added value of the Méndez Principles for States, especially in the context of policing and justice.

The side event featured interventions from Diego Garcia-Sayán, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, as well as Ambassadors representing Chile, Morocco, Denmark and Argentina and members of the group responsible for drafting the Méndez Principles.

In addition, Juan Méndez, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who originally called for and then led the development of the Principles, shared his insights on the benefits for States in adopting effective interviewing techniques.

“The interventions and discussions during the side event had a tremendous impact,” said Ms Audrey Olivier Muralt, Deputy Secretary General.

“On the morning of the side event, 35 States had joined the statement in support of the Méndez Principles but support grew to a total of 53 States when the joint statement was delivered the following day.”

The side event was co-sponsored by all CTI Core States (Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco), along with Austria, Argentina,Norway, Switzerland and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

Ms Bernath noted that a growing number of States and experts had also expressed their support for the Méndez Principles during the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, held from 12 September to 7 October 2022.

“We are very encouraged by the support demonstrated by so many States,” she said. “Together with our partners, we will continue our advocacy to include references to the Méndez Principles in the upcoming resolutions on torture and the administration of justice to be adopted by consensus at the General Assembly later this year.