Guide to the Juan E. Méndez Papers, 1980-2017 and undated
Juan E. Méndez is a lawyer and human rights activist who is the former president of the International Center for Transitional Justice. This collection contains a portion of his writings, conference materials, subject and research files, and materials documenting his work with ICTJ and the United Nations, where he served as the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide.
- Collection Number
- Juan E. Méndez papers
- Méndez, Juan E.
- 13 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Majority of the materials are in English; a portion of the materials are in Spanish.
The collection consists of materials documenting Méndez's work with the United Nations and ICTJ (2004-2015), as well as a small representative of his overall writings and professional engagements (dating approximately 2005-2012). Méndez's policy work as the UN Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture represent the bulk of the collection. There is a smaller amount of administrative and event-related materials documenting his work while president of the International Center for Transitional Justice, as well as a selection of files from his various speaking engagements, consultancies, and leadership roles as a global expert on transitional justice, torture, and genocide.
The papers have been arranged into series. The first series, Americas Watch, consists of reports produced while Méndez was an executive director in that organization.
The series for the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide includes administrative correspondence, materials exploring the mandate of the office (and its limitations), Advisory Committee files, UN meeting notes and agendas from Méndez's communications with various country officials, itineraries from various country visits (including Sudan/Darfur and Rwanda), and subject files. The series includes a substantial amount of materials documenting the UN's approach to the Darfur crisis, including policy statements, reports from the Sudan government, research, and visits to the region by Méndez and the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.
Méndez's files from his role as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment and Punishment also contain subject and country files, administrative and conference notes about meetings with various UN officials and NGOs, a selection of files about specific legal cases Méndez was involved in as the SRT, and documentation about assorted country visits and missions. There is a small amount of material relating to United States' policies on solitary confinement, as well as materials about the WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning case.
Méndez's ICTJ files are largely miscellaneous; some relate to the group's organization and leadership, and others regard his role as a public figure for that organization.
The Writings series is far from complete; it includes a portion of Méndez's many journal articles and publications, as well as some more recent correspondence and outlines from his work on his autobiography.
The Lectures, Teaching, Consultancies, and Leadership Roles documents Méndez's many roles outside of the UN and ICTJ, revealing his professional engagement and service as an expert in genocide, torture, and transitional justice. These files tend to relate to specific events, human rights consultations, and conferences Méndez participated in during the early 2010s.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Original digital and electronic materials are closed to use. Contact Research Services in advance to request access to these materials.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Juan E. Méndez Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The name of the organization changed in the 1990s from Americas Watch to Human Rights Watch.
2001 treaty information (printed 2004)
Meetings, correspondence, notes, follow-up. Group formed and chaired by David Hamburg.
Draft report by W.G. O'Neill for the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada
Report to OSAPG by L. Woocher, Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University.
Report by T. Mendel for the OSAPG.
Includes itineraries, background material, map, etc.; also contains Mendez's spiral notebook with notes from the trip and a report: "A General Enlightenment on the Problem of Darfur," prepared by North Darfur Wali's Office in 2004.
Letter from David Cameron to Peter Gibson regarding inquiry into UK intelligence agencies' participation in the extraordinary rendition of prisoners and suspected terrorists.
Urgent appeal on behalf of Zaid Safarini and other inmates at ADX Florence Colorado, USA
Briefs and statements of fact related to Al-Nashiri case.
Amicus Brief of Professor Juan E. Méndez regarding torture by Royal Dutch Shell
Case related to solitary confinement practices in Canada.
Case of Tarek Hassan vs. the United Kingdom related to torture and disappearance.
Petition for for supervisory writ and restraining order to prevent torturous force-feeings.
Case files of Vladimir Hertzog v. Brazil before the International Court of Human Rights
Material in reference to hearing by Inter-American Comission on Human Rights
Programs, schedule, and related material from Association for the Prevention of Torture board meeting in Switzerland.
Material related to conference at Southwestern Law School (Los Angeles) held on behalf of José Siderman.
Lecture notes, pamphletts, and other materials related to visit to the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law.
Material related to the presentation and adoption of the Mandela Rules for solitary confinement and imprisonment.
Contains speech, handwritten notes, and other material related to presentation on inclusive strategies on torture prevention.
Statement by Méndez on interrogation practices for the Association for the Prevention of Torture.
Material related to Méndez's role at the General Assembly in New York.
Schedule of events, notes, and program material from Addis Ababa meeting of African Commission on Human Rights.
Material related for Inter-American Commission on Human Rights meeting, October 2014.
Text of speech, reports, and other material in Spanish from Buenos Aires speaking engagement.
Correspondence and notes from speaking event at Salzburg Cutler Program.
Handwritten notes, programs, and other material from San Sebastian speaking engagement.
Notes and correspondnece from American Society of International Law speakinge event.
Schedule of events, travel expenses, notes, and reports from speaking engagement in the Gambia.
Remarks at All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, talking points, and other materials.
Discussion paper, handwritten notes, and other material from meeting to review the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
Event schedules, correspondence, reports, notes, programs, and handwritten notices from annual Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva.
Records from meeting, event schedule, programs, and panel material from Geneva meeting.
Notes, event schedules, speeches, programs, and other material from Geneva meeting of Human Rights Council
Materials related to the 31st meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Committee in Geneva.
Handwritten notes, correspondence, and event schedule from Geneva Meeting
Correspondence, event schedules, reports and other material from London Conference.
Material related to the Children's Law Centre Annual Lecture, including program, event schedule, and notes.
Materials related to Convention Against Torture Initiative held in San Jose, Costa Rica, including handwritten notes, event schedule, programming material, speeches, and reports.
Keynote address and correspondence for Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Conference in Vienna.
Material related to the international secretariat of Amnesty International in London, including briefing packets, opening remarks, event schedule, maps, event program, and reports.
Material related from Convention Against Torture Initiative Forum in Chavannes-de-Bogis, including event schedule, travel documents, notes, and statements.
Material related to General Assembly meeting including resolutions, statements, handwritten notes, travel arrangements, and event schedule.
Material related to General Assembly meeting, including talking points, event schedule, handwritten notes, and correspondence.
Material related to symposium, including handwritten notes, program, and event schedule.
Includes workshop packet, presentation and speech by Méndez, and material by other presenters.
Includes program for International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), meeting schedule, and packets on preventing torture.
Includes travel information, handwritten notes, correspondence related to travel, packets and information regarding the Nelson Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and schedule of events.
Includes schedule of events, news releases, U.N. reports, research, presentation draft, and email correspondence.
Includes notes on webinar and material package for participants.
Includes packets on "When Treatment is Torture: A New Approach to Protecting People with Disabilities Against Improper Medical of Psychiatric Treatment," email correspondence, UN Reports on medical treatment of intersex people, drug treatment, event schedule of meeting, and travel materials.
Includes pamphlets, programs, meeting notes, schedule of events, presentations, and research material on the relationship between medicine and torture.
Report on denial of medical treatment to Ambassador Arthur Porter who is being held in detention in Panama.
Reports, handwritten notes, travel documents, drafts, and email correspondence regarding various visits to Bahrain.
Reports on torture and prison conditions, handwritten notes, email correspondence, and other material from various visits to Brazil by Méndez.
Materials related to case against solitary confinement in Canadian prisons, includes legal briefs, research materials, and appendices containing information about to solitary confinement.
Talking points on systematic torture and crimes against humanity in Mexico for an Open Society Foundation event.
Letter from Méndez to ambassador of the Ivory Coast regarding treatment of M. Masile Mahan Gahé.
Handwritten notes related to Mohammed Sultan, a prisoner on a hunger strike in Egypt.
Advance and unedited versions of the mistreatment of Andargachew Tsege, a British national arrested in Yemen and imprisoned and tortured in Ethiopia.
Materials from 2015 visit to Georgia including handwritten notes, travel material, reports in English and Georgian, and reports on detention, torture, and prisoner treatment.
Reports, handwritten notes, email correspondence, and other material from the U.N. regarding torture and poor treatment of workers and prisoners in Ghana.
Material from visit to Indonesia including handwritten notes, U.N. reports, and pamphlets from Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations.
Material from visit to Mauritania including handwritten notes, reports filed by U.N., material in Arabic, and travel materials.
Materials related to visits to Mexico, includdes travel arrangements, event schedules, handwritten notes, reports, emails, and formal recommendations from the U.N. on torture in Mexico.
Reports, pamphlets, and information packets on torture and inhuman treatement in the United States prison system.
Material from mission to Tunisia, includes handwritten notebooks, travel arrangements, event schedule, reports on Tunisia's treatment of prisoners and torture.
Draft statements, agendas, talking points
Mission statement and other information related to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Job description and request for applications for assisstant to Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Guidelines, training manuals, facts and figures, information sheets, and other material related to the office of the Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Notices of appointment, certificates of achievement, codes of contact, rules, and other administrative information.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatement or punishment and addendum.
Letters from Manfred Nowak on behalf of Amnesty International regarding torture and ill-treatment for nations, including China, Equatorial Guinea, Oman, Nigeria, Moldova, Eritrea, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan.
Correspondence and research material related to Aero Contractors, an aviation firm headquartered in Johnson County, NC which participated in the extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects abraod.
Includes material on solitary confinement in California, ACLU briefing papers, TAMMS C-Max, Viktor Bout, and IACHR hearing.
Research material related to Maryland Foster Care system and use of pscyhotropic drugs on foster children.
Material related to processes and inquiries of extraordinary rendition by the United States and torture in Guantanamo Bay.
Correspondence and information about the Universal Rights Group based in Switzerland.
Columbia Law School Human Rights Insitute guide and program information.
Account of meeting with Rhonda Pence an activist concerned about microwaves being used for mind control purposes.
Reports by Amnesty International on Extraordinary Rendition in Europe.
Strategic Plans, work agendas, and other documents from the CIDH.
Notes, research material, and drafts of reports and research papers on gendered perspectives on torture.
Includes two packets entitled "Protocols of Interrogation" and "Publication on Children Deprived of Liberty" which includes annotations.
Research materials and correspondence regarding the the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado.
Photocopies of photographs of conditions in the Florence ADX prison.
Email correspondence and drafts related to Standard Minimum Rules (SMR) for the treatment of prisoners as defined by the U.N. COmmission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
Bulletin and emails relate to a project designed to combat impunity and promote redress for gross human rights violations.
Various pamphlets and programs from events and meetings held during the time period listed.
Handwritten letter from prisoner named Syed Hashmi about his experience in Florence ADX.
Spreadhseet with information about California prisoners who are in solitary confinement.
Policy brief draft, notes
From ICTJ, UN, and other positions, engagements, and meetings.
Transcript printed in New York Law School journal
Excerpted from the UNHRC website, with input from Méndez:
"Juan E. Méndez is a Professor of Human Rights Law in residence at the American University Washington College of Law and the author (with Marjory Wentworth) of "Taking A Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights", New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011. Between 1 November 2010 and 31 October 2016, he was the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. He was Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (2009-2010). He was also Co-Chair of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (2010-2011). Until May 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and in the summer of 2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York. Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, the Honorable Kofi Annan named Mr. Méndez his Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, a task he performed from 2004 to 2007. In 2000-2003 he was a member of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and its President in 2002. He was Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica (1996-1999) and a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at the University of Notre Dame (1999-2004).
A native of Argentina, Mr. Méndez has dedicated his legal career to the defense of human rights and has a long and distinguished record of advocacy throughout the Americas. As a result of his involvement in representing political prisoners, the Argentinean military dictatorship arrested him and subjected him to torture and administrative detention for more than a year. During this time, Amnesty International adopted him as a "Prisoner of Conscience." After his expulsion from his country in 1977, Mr. Méndez moved to the United States, where he worked in various capacities for Human Rights Watch (1982-1996)."
Documentation of Mendez's early work in Argentina was largely lost when he was forced abruptly into exile. Documentation of Mendez's work since 1977 can also be found in the archives of the organizations which he has worked with including the Americas Watch records at Columbia University and the International Center for Transitional Justice records at Duke University.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Human Rights Archive (Duke University)
- International Center for Transitional Justice
- United Nations
- United Nations. Security Council
- United Nations. Special Rapporteur on Torture
- United Nations. Officials and employees
- WikiLeaks (Organization)
- Criminal justice, Administration of -- United States
- Genocide -- Rwanda
- Human rights workers
- Solitary confinement -- United States
- Transitional justice
The Juan E. Méndez Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2016 and 2017.
Processed by Ben Saalfeld, Meghan Lyon, October 2016. Updated by David Romine, Christian Cleveland, November 2017.
Accessions described in this collection guide: 2016-0030; 2017-0170