UN torture expert to visit Tunisia

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The UN expert on torture will visit Tunisia from May 15 to 22 to help the new transitional authorities there ensure that torture cases are brought to justice, the United Nations said Thursday.

"The new authorities have taken a number of steps towards ensuring accountability and long-term reforms," said Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

He said he would help the interim government "assist efforts to establish the rule of law, fulfill the rights to reparations for victims of torture and ill-treatment, promote accountability for past abuses and allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law."

Mendez will meet government officials, parliamentarians, judicial figures, civil society and victims of torture during his one week mission in Tunis, Bizerte and Kasserine, the UN said in a statement.

A UN human rights mission in February urged Tunisia to investigate and prosecute allegations of violations carried out by security forces to suppress the North African country's popular uprising.

The protests led to the toppling of long-time ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14.

© 2011 AFP

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