Méndez Principles: Building international support at the United Nations

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Recognition of the Méndez Principles by the United Nations in Geneva, New York and Vienna is essential to grant additional legitimacy to the Méndez Principles on Effective Interviewing. To deliver this, the APT has developed an advocacy and dissemination strategy with specific goals for 2022, seizing the momentum and interest generated by the new Principles. And these goals are on track to be achieved. 

 

Building on momentum generated by the Principles during the Human Rights Council in Geneva

The Méndez Principles featured prominently in statements by States and NGOs during the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, held from February to April 2022, particularly during the High-level Segment and the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. In addition, 15 States co-sponsored a side event on the Méndez Principles at the opening of the Human Rights Council (Listen to our podcast to learn more about what was discussed).

In between the sessions, the APT reached out to States, individually and in groups, as well as to UN expert mechanisms and treaty bodies, to raise awareness of the Principles. As a result, at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022, support from States increased significantly. This was demonstrated with Argentina delivering a joint statement on behalf of 39 States in support of the Méndez Principles, during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The next stage in our advocacy will be the 51st session of the Human Rights Council in September 2022, where we aim to have references to the Principles included in specific resolutions. 

 

Raising awareness on the Principles amongst the diplomatic community in New York

In parallel to our advocacy work in Geneva, we organised an advocacy mission to New York in May with the Co-Chairs of the Méndez Principles Steering Committee: Prof Juan Méndez and Mark Thomson. Our goal was to deepen support for the Principles and discuss the potential inclusion of references to the Méndez Principles in existing UN General Assembly resolutions this autumn. 

The mission included bilateral meetings with several States delegations at the Ambassador level, and with Assistant UN Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris. A highlight of the mission was a breakfast meeting organised by the Ambassador of Denmark in New York, which brought together 22 States from across all regions, in particular from the CTI Group of Friends. 

Encouraged by this growing support, a follow-up mission to New York was held in late June, where Juan Méndez introduced the Méndez Principles to 23 GRULAC Ambassadors. We also took the opportunity to increase support and awareness about the Principles with States from the Caribbean region, as well as with CTI Ambassadors, in particular from Morocco, Indonesia and Chile. 

The next steps will include the organisation of a side event in New York in autumn, as well as advocacy towards the inclusion of references to the Principles in existing resolutions at the Third Committee of the General Assembly, in particular resolutions on torture and on administration of justice. 

 

We feel it is important to obtain an official statement of adoption, endorsement or other form of support from the international community, as represented by the United Nations.

Professor Juan Méndez, Co-Chair, Méndez Principles Steering Committee