Lecture: Torture – An Expert’s Confrontation with an Everyday Evil”

“Whatever [the detainees] might have done, they truly deserve a world without torture and with humane conditions of detention”. Manfred Nowak

Mr. Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatement or punishment. Second Session of Human Rights Council, Geneva, Palais des Nations, Sept 18 – October 6, 2006 Copyright UNPHOTO/VIROT date Sept 20,2006

After six years as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak decided to summarize his impressions into a book: “Torture: An Expert’s Confrontation with an Everyday Evil“. Recently published, Nowak will now hold a lecture framed around the book on 15 November in Lund.

The book covers Manfred Nowak’s professional experiences through his fact-finding missions, which took him all around the world, and also focuses on confidential interviews with detainees, torture survivors and witnesses. And it is to them that Nowak dedicates this book, to those who survived torture and that were kind and brave enough to share their horrific experiences with him.

By writing this book, Nowak felt he could share his personal thoughts and feelings experienced during these missions – thoughts and feelings he could not express through his official reports to the United Nations.


Manfred Nowak was United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture from 2004 to 2010. In this function, he conducted fact-finding missions to Georgia, Mongolia, Nepal, China, Jordan, Paraguay, Nigeria, Togo, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Denmark and Greenland, Moldova, Equatorial Guinea, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and Greece; joint reports on Guantánamo Bay, Darfur and Secret Detention in the Fight against Terrorism from 2004 to 2010.

Prior to that, he served as UN Expert on Enforced Disappearances between 1993 and 2006 and advised the Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights drafting a Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was adopted by the General Assembly in December 2006. Between 1996 and 2003, he served as international judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

Nowak is a Professor of International Law and Human Rights – University of Vienna, and Co-Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann institute of Human Rights (BIM) and the new Secretary General at EIUC. Prof. Nowak has also been Head of the interdisciplinary research Centre Human Rights at the University of Vienna since 2014, vice chair of the Management Board of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna and Scientific Director of the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights, University of Vienna, since 2012.

Let us know you’re coming! 

This lecture is part of a series of human rights related lectures managed through collaboration with the Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Location: Café Athen, Sandgatan 2, 223 50 Lund

Date and time: 15 November 19:00-21:00

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