Hannes Richter

New UN Rapporteur on Torture

Hannes Richter

2005_Nowak.jpgDr. Manfred Nowak

In November, 2004, the head of the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights appointed the Austrian expert on human rights, Manfred Nowak, as Special Rapporteur on Torture. On December 1, 2004, Mr. Nowak officially succeeded Theo van Boven of Holland.

Austria officially supported Nowak's candidacy. The mandate as Special Rapporteur on torture is one of the most important within the Commission on Human Rights. The seat was established in 1985 and includes all UN member states, independent of whether the contractural parties adhere to the Convention on Anti-Torture. The Special Rapporteur forwards urgent appeals to countries where individuals have been threatened with torture, he visits countries and draws up an annual report to be delivered to the Commission on Human Rights and the UN General Assembly. Rapporteurs are independent and unsalaried. Manfred Nowak is the Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in Vienna, and a member of the European Union's network of independent basic rights experts. He also heads a commission within the Human Rights Advisory Council in the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. As an internationally recognized human rights authority, Dr. Nowak is UN expert on missing persons and advisor to the High Commission on Human Rights for questions concerning the fight against poverty.