A/HRC/46/26 I. Introduction 1. The present report was prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/20. II. Activities relating to the mandate 2. In 2020, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment transmitted 207 communications, jointly with other mandate holders or individually, on behalf of individuals exposed to torture and other ill-treatment. 3. Owing to the travel restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, no country visits or other official travel could be carried out in 2020, and an already agreed follow-up visit to Maldives had to be cancelled. 4. Since his previous report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/43/49), the Special Rapporteur has participated in consultations, workshops and events on issues relating to his mandate, the most notable of which are listed below. 5. On 6 and 7 April 2020, the mandate holder participated in an expert consultation/webinar on the theme “Towards torture-free trade: examining the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards”, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 73/304. 6. On 26 June, on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Special Rapporteur participated in a joint public webinar on “the impact of COVID-19 on torture and ill-treatment”, where he addressed the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of excessive use of force and acts of violence in enforcement of national emergency measures. The webinar was organized collaboratively by the United Nations torture mechanisms and the Association for the Prevention of Torture. 7. On 15 October, the Special Rapporteur presented his thematic report on “Biopsychosocial factors conducive to torture and ill-treatment” (A/75/179) to the Third Committee of the General Assembly. 8. On 26 November, the Special Rapporteur participated in an expert meeting, organized by the Geneva Academy in support of special procedure mandate holders on the theme “How to evaluate the impact of special procedures visits, recommendations and inquiries?”, in preparation for his thematic report. 9. On 8 December, the Special Rapporteur addressed British Members of Parliament during a hearing on the treatment of Julian Assange. III. Effectiveness of the cooperation of States with the mandate holder on official communications and requests for country visits A. 1. Background Status of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment 10. The universal and absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is reflected not only in international human rights law but also in international humanitarian law, refugee law and international criminal law. No circumstances, including war, public emergency or terrorist threat, can justify the use of torture or ill-treatment. This prohibition is universally accepted as a fundamental principle of customary international law and, therefore, is binding upon all States, regardless of whether they have ratified any of the international instruments explicitly codifying the prohibition. In sum, torture and ill-treatment are prohibited for everyone, everywhere and in all circumstances. Despite this absolute and non-derogable prohibition and the multiple national, regional and international mechanisms monitoring States’ compliance with the relevant 2

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