On 31 October the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT), with headquarters in Geneva, opened its evaluation of the Mexican State, in the presence of a delegation of more than 30 public officials from the federal government and that of different states. The CAT is entrusted with monitoring the observance by member-states of the Convention against Torture.
The Committee expressed its grave concern for the practice of torture in the country, particularly in light of the use of armed forces in tasks of public security and the “phenomenon of grave impunity” in which acts of torture remain. It indicated that the penal reform that seeks to change this practice by means of a transition to an oral and accusatory system is not serving well, given that security forces and the Public Ministry continue to utilize coerced testimony as evidence in juridical proceses.
Among the more than 70 questions posed by the CAT experts, those associated with the “evident contrast” of the number of denunciations of cases of torture and the number of punishments meted out were stressed.
By means of a communique released jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Governance (Segob), and the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), it was noted that the ten members of the CAT posed several challenges to the Mexican State as regards the classification of the crime of torture at the national level, the application and effects of the Istanbul Protocol, the advances in the implementation of the reform of the judicial system, the situation of migrants in the country, the application of community control, the protection of the human rights of women, as well as challenges in the prison system, among other things.
In this sense, the president of the Commission on Human Rights from Mexico City (CDHDF), Luis González Placencia, who met with CAT the previous week, noted that the official delegation demonstrated “an objective attitude and that information presented be true.” He also observed that “beyond this, we have the constitutional incorporation of community control that is, as has been confirmed, a space that also allows for these acts of torture.” “And this structural part is complemented by a physiological [one], with a functional part that also makes torture possible […]. As is known, in Mexico the practice of arresting so as later to investigate continues,” he said. In closing, González Plascencia claimed that torture should be seen as a system, one that closes with impunity, as is reflected in a series of practices that are very well-established, both among the police, as in the Public Ministry. Even the forensic doctors who are supposed to find ways to minimize the harm committed during torture deny the very injuries committed during acts of torture.
For more information (in Spanish):
Información parcial e imprecisa del Estado Mexicano ante el Comité Contra la Tortura de la ONU (Cencos, 5 de noviembre de 2012)
Comité contra la Tortura de la ONU condena práctica de tortura en México (Codigo DH, 31 de octubre de 2012)
Impunidad agrava la tortura: ONG (El Universal, 31 de octubre de 2012)
Persiste la práctica de tortura en México (Red Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas, 29 de octubre de 2012)
Responderá México al Comité de ONU sobre Tortura (Diario de Yucatán, 1 de noviembre de 2012)
Reconoce Comité contra Tortura de la ONU avances de México en la materia (Radio Fórmula, 1 de noviembre de 2012)
La reforma que Guerrero necesita para erradicar la tortura (Tlachinollan, 5 de noviembre de 2012)
Ante el Comité contra la Tortura de la ONU Tlachinollan urge tipificar el delito de tortura en el Código Penal del estado de Guerrero (Tlachinollan, 30 de octubre de 2012)
Comité contra la Tortura (OACNUDH)
En México leyes “disfrazadas” permiten tortura: CDHDF. Con Ricardo Rocha (Radio Fórmula, 5 de noviembre de 2012)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)