Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2009 > May 2009 > Joint Study on Secret Detention

Mainstream, Vol XLVII No 21, May 9, 2009

Joint Study on Secret Detention

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Two Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations—the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment—have initiated a Joint Study to examine the practice of secret detention from a global perspective.

The Joint Study aims at producing new findings regarding the nature and scope of secret detention practices. The Joint Study will examine the practice or permission of secret detentions to operate on the territories of states from various geographical regions, taking into account domestic, regional and global efforts to counter terrorism.

In addition to thematic reporting on facts and events, the Joint Study will also include a legal analysis of the framework for the operation of secret places of detention, and find out the extent to which persons have been tortured or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment at such places.


It is anticipated that the Special Rapporteurs will produce a Joint Report containing recommendations regarding these practices, with the objective of curbing the resort to secret detention and unlawful treatment of detainees in the context of the war on terror embodying contemporary counter-terrorism efforts.

If one is interested in submitting information to this Joint Study, there are facilities for sending a secure message. The authorities have informed that such submissions are most welcome.

The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-terrorism, Martin Scheinin, was appointed to this mandate in August 2005 and is a Professor of Public International Law at the European University Institute.

The Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, was appointed to this mandate in December 2004 and is a Professor of International Human Rights Law at the University of Vienna and happens to be the Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

The message bearing valuable information can be sent to the secure website http: // Contact details are to be kept confidential. All follow-up contacts regarding information are to be done only by those working on the study. Submissions in English are preferred but can be made in other official languages of the United Nations, if possible with a brief summary in English.

Notice: The print edition of Mainstream Weekly is now discontinued & only an online edition is appearing. No subscriptions are being accepted