UN / TORTURE

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15-Oct-2019 00:03:02
Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture told reporters that he visited Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison in London on 9 May with two medical experts and have concluded that Assange “has been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / TORTURE
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DATELINE: 15 OCTOBER 2019, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

15 OCTOBER 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, press briefing room
3.SOUNDBITE (English) Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“I visited him with two medical experts, we came to the conclusion that he has been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time. That’s a medical assessment. We asked for all the involved States to investigate this case and to alleviate the pressure that has been done on him and especially to respect his due process rights which, in my view has been systematically violated in all these jurisdictions. Unfortunately, none of the involved States have agreed to conduct an investigation, although that is their obligation under the Convention on Torture.”
4.Wide shot, press briefing room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“While war is recognized as so called a scourge of mankind, domestic violence is very much regarded as a private matter in most countries. So I want to put this in the agenda that, States, although domestic violence usually not an act of state, States still have the obligation to positively protect their population from this type of violence.”
6. Wide shot, press briefing room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“Everyday in all regions of the world women and children predominantly, and also men -millions- are being exposed to, at times, extremely cruel treatment ranging from psychological, mental oppression to mutilation, to murder. I think 70,000 femicides only in 2018. So alarming numbers, in terms of the scale of this problem that are in fact are about comparable to the deaths and injuries caused by all armed conflicts in the world in the same given time period actually.”
8. Wide shot, press briefing room
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Modvig, Chair of the Committee Against Torture:
“Asylum determination procedures we always take an interest in because this is where you determine an asylum seeker has actually been tortured. And if the tortured asylum seeker is returned to his own with risk for increased torture, it is a clear violence of the Convention.”
10. Wide shot, press briefing room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture:
“Quite often the detention centres for immigration detention are not really detention centres, they are prisons. And in fact we have situations where the person is really being held in prison like conditions subjected to in fact prison-like regimes for not months, but years on the revolving door basis effectively beyond the reach of in fact scrutiny because of the nature of the systems in which they work. I think there are some very real problems with the way in which immigration detention is handled in many places.”
12.Various shots, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture told reporters that he visited Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison in London on 9 May with two medical experts and have concluded that Assange “has been exposed to psychological torture for a prolonged period of time.”

Speaking to reporters in New York today (15 Oct), Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment said he also reported his trip to the UK, US Sweden and Ecuador, the four States that still remain responsible for Assange treatment for the past six years.

Melzer said, “we asked for all the involved States to investigate this case and to alleviate the pressure that has been done on him and especially to respect his due process rights which, in my view has been systematically violated in all these jurisdictions.”

The Special Rapporteur continued, “unfortunately, none of the involved States have agreed to conduct an investigation, although that is their obligation under the Convention on Torture.”

On domestic violence, Melzer said, “while war is recognized as so called a scourge of mankind, domestic violence is very much regarded as a private matter in most countries.”

He said, “although domestic violence usually not an active state, States still have the obligations to protect their population from this type of violence.”

Melzer explained “everyday in all regions of the world women and children predominantly, and also men are being exposed to, at times, extremely cruel treatment ranging from psychological, mental oppression to mutilation, to murder.”

He continued, “I think 70,000 femicides only in 2018. So alarming numbers, in terms of the scale of this problem that are in fact are about comparable to the deaths and injuries caused by all armed conflicts in the world in the same given time period actually.”

Jens Modvig, Chair of the Committee Against Torture said “asylum determination procedures we always take an interest in because this is where you determine an asylum seeker has actually been tortured. And if the tortured asylum seeker is returned to his own with risk for increased torture, it is a clear violence of the Convention.

On immigration detention centres, Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture said, “quite often the detention centres for immigration detention are not really detention centres, they are prisons.”

Evans continued, “we have situations where the person is really being held in prison like conditions subjected to in fact prison like regimes for not months, but years on the revolving door basis effectively beyond the reach of in fact scrutiny because of the nature of the system in which they work. I think there are some very real problems with the way in which immigration detention is handled in many places.”

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. They also make annual presentations to the General Assembly committee dealing with human rights issues, known as the Third Committee.
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