21 February 2005

Viennese Professor as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to Visit Georgia

(Re-issued as received.)

NEW YORK, 18 February (UN Headquarters) -- The Special Rapporteur on torture of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Manfred Nowak, will undertake a fact-finding mission to Georgia from 19 to 25 February 2005 at the invitation of the Government.

The Special Rapporteur intends to study the situation regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the country. In order to gather first-hand information, he will meet with various officials, international organizations, as well as non-governmental and civil society organizations; he will also visit detention facilities. The Special Rapporteur will also travel to Abkhazia, where he will meet, among others, with the United Nations Human Rights Office in Abkhazia.

The Special Rapporteur will present his preliminary findings orally to the next session of the Commission in April, and will submit a comprehensive written report the sixty-second second session in 2006.

Mr. Nowak was appointed Special Rapporteur of the Commission on 1 December 2004. He is Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights. Mr. Nowak held several experts’ position sin the United Nations, in particular as expert member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, and as independent expert to study legal issues relating to the drafting of a binding instrument on enforced disappearances.

As Special Rapporteur, Mr. Nowak is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. The Commission first decided to appoint a special rapporteur to examine questions relevant to torture in 1985. The mandate covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


For further information:

José Luis Díaz, Press Officer,
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel.: +4122 917 9242; Fax: +4122 917 9004
Email: jdiaz@ohchr.org