On 31 August, twenty civil non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and institutions called on the federal government to incorporate international standards and the suggestions of experts in elaborating the General Law on Torture, which will be developed over the next six months. They criticized the consultative process to elaborate the General Law on Torture and demanded mechanisms to promote dialogue and the participation of interested groups, victims, and persons. In a letter directed to President Enrique Peña Nieto, the persons in question note that “in difficult times such as these in Mexico, the creation of a law that aspires to effective participation, eradication, and sanctioning of torture should be effected through a democratic process that involves the diverse voices that have demanded the creation of this normative mark in recent years.” The NGOs call on the government to take into account international standards and the recommendations made by experts on the question so that this reform promotes authentic transformation and not be limited to cosmetic changes that end up being insufficient for uprooting this practice, as through the fabrication of charges, the lack of serious investigations, and the damages imposed on victims and their families.
In whatever case, torture is a question of a practice that in Mexico has been consistently denounced by the NGOs, both domestic and international, and that has been used with impunity by public servants as a means of investigating crimes to obtain confessions or “punishing” those who have been arrested. Intervening on the question, Juan E. Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel and unusual punishments, expressed that torture in Mexico is generalized and takes place within a context of impunity. Méndez has recommended that Mexico “publicly recognize the dimension of impunity with regard to torture and abuses and send clear public messages to all security and justice officials, state and federal, that all tortures and abuses will be seriously investigated and punished, in accordance with international law, as well as constitutional and criminal statutes.” Another point that the NGOs made and that will be forwarded to the Congress of Deputies is that the General Law must take into account the perspectives of victims, limit military jurisdiction, break with the obstacles before the denunciations, and not allow the law to be limited merely to abstractions, but rather it must become a real tool.
For more information (in Spanish):
ONGs piden al Congreso las incluya en Ley contra Tortura y acate estándares internacionales (Sin Embargo, 03 de septiembre de 2015)
Critican 20 ONG el proceso para crear la ley general contra la tortura (La Jornada, 01 de septiembre de 2015)
La iniciativa de Ley General contra la Tortura deberá ser acorde con el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos (Desinformemonos, 19 de agosto de 2015)
Indispensable retomar aportes de OSC y personas expertas en la elaboración de la Ley General contra la Tortura (Amnistía Internacional, 12 de agosto de 2015)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
National/International: Army and security forces involved in extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances: US State Department (21 July 2015)
Oaxaca: More than 500 cases of torture and 26 executions: Truth Commission (29 June 2015)
National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico” (15 September 2014)
Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror” (3 July 2014)
National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (16 May 2014)