On the 29th of June, a revised version of a major human rights document – the Istanbul Protocol – is being launched in Geneva. Since 1999, the Istanbul Protocol has set out international standards for investigating and documenting acts of torture and ill-treatment, providing essential guidance for medical, law enforcement, prosecution, judicial, and other relevant professionals.
The revision of the Istanbul Protocol – the Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to give it its full title – is the result of a six-year process involving 180 experts from 51 countries.
The project was led by four civil society organizations – Physicians for Human Rights, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and the Redress Trust – and members from four core UN anti-torture bodies: the Committee against Torture; the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture; the Special Rapporteur on Torture; and the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
The revised version offers additional guidance for health professionals in documenting torture and ill-treatment in different contexts and a step-by-step guide for States on how to effectively implement the Protocol.
More generally, the revised version reflects on the most recent jurisprudence on torture prevention, accountability, and redress, as well as lessons learned from using the Protocol over the past 20 years
The official launch on 29 June is co-sponsored by the UN Human Rights Office, the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law, and the Istanbul Protocol Editorial Committee.