States give backing to the Méndez Principles

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

In a sign of growing international endorsement, 39 UN Member States signed a joint statement in support of the Méndez Principles on Effective Interviewing.

The statement was presented by Argentina on 20 June during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, as part of the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

“Rooted in practical experiences in a wide range of countries, the Principles aim at operationalizing the presumption of innocence, improving effective criminal investigations and prosecutions, avoiding wrongful convictions and gross miscarriages of justice, and ensuring that no person is subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment during questioning,” the statement said.

“We encourage all UN Member States to support the use of the Principles as a useful reference framework to strengthen the right to practice law without prejudice or interference, thereby reducing the risk of unlawful, abusive and coercive practices and safeguarding the access to justice.”

In this regard, in his response, the Special Rapporteur referred to the Méndez Principles as an important framework to guarantee the implementation of safeguards during the first moments of detention, including the access to a lawyer.

The joint statement continued to highlight that broad implementation of the Méndez Principles would benefit States “to make the work of law enforcement more efficient and to strengthen compliance with human rights obligations”.

The statement was read by Argentina on behalf of: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Argentina.

Watch full Statement and response by the Special Rapporteur: