A/HRC/16/52 United Nations General Assembly Distr.: General 3 February 2011 Original: English Human Rights Council Sixteenth session Agenda item 3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez* Summary This is the first report submitted by the incumbent Special Rapporteur to the Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur took up his appointment on 1 November 2010, replacing Manfred Nowak who had served two terms as Special Rapporteur. The report gives an overview of the activities of the mandate over the reporting cycle, including the activities carried out by the former Special Rapporteur up to the end of his mandate on 31 October 2010. The Special Rapporteur outlines his working methods and vision, and notes, in relation to follow-up country visits, that invitations from States to conduct follow-up visits constitute a good practice that should be disseminated. The Special Rapporteur advocates a victim-centred approach to the work of his mandate. He believes that all human rights standards are subject to the norm of “progressive development,” in that they evolve in accordance with new repressive actions and features. In this regard, it is important to consolidate current interpretations of what constitutes torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and to insist on effective implementation of States’ obligations to prevent and to punish violations. In keeping with the progressive development of international jurisprudence, the Special Rapporteur believes that expansive interpretations of norms are possible as long as they better protect individuals from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. At the same time, such expansive interpretations should evolve from agreements among all stakeholders reached after frank and open debate. It is the role of the Special Rapporteur to generate such discussion as appropriate. * GE.11-10587 Late submission.