National: Civil society organizations express doubts about initiative for Law against Torture

Torture.pngPress conference Photo @ Luis Barrón, SinEmbargo

On February 3, some 30 civil society organizations, such as the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos – CMDPDH), the Collective against Torture and Impunity (Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad), and the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Centre for Human Rights (Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez – Centro Prodh), shared their indignation at a press conference over the initiative for the Law against Torture. They called on the Legislative Executive to pass legislation against torture that meets international standards and showed that, on December 10, 2015, Enrique Peña Nieto, “President of the Republic, sent his initiative to the Senate without consulting the organizations, which, apart from not knowing a range of minimum contents that this law should have, incorporates judicial norms that promote the torture commission, and establishes policies that impede its efficient investigation.” His proposal “does not reflect the requirements for the true eradication of this practice“, the organizations indicated. For example, it does not include the Istanbul Protocol, an international manual for the investigation and documentation of torture, nor does it forbid the use of illicit evidence obtained under torture. In October 2015, the government carried out a series of consultations in a process of dialogue with civil society organizations, as well as academics and social agents, and agreements were reached about the standards a General Law against Torture should contain. According to the organizations, “the proposals of civil society and the academic sector are not included in their entirety” in the final text.

Among others, the Committee against Torture and the Special Envoy against torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading punishments and treatments, both from the United Nations, have declared the practice of torture in Mexico as being systematic and generalized. “Torture has been used by the Mexican State for a long period of time to obtain information, confessions, to punish, sexually violate and break the personality of thousands of people who live in or are in transit through Mexico.” The coordinator of CMDPDH, Jose Antonio Guevara, recalled that between 2006 and 2014, the National Commission for Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos – CNDH) received some 100 complaints about torture and 4,000 for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, while in state commissions there are some 4,500 outstanding cases. Prior to the imminent start of the legislative work of the current sitting of government, the organizations called on the Legislative Executive to “take into account the observations and reports made by civil society organizations, academic groups and experts on these issues and that they approve legislation in line with international standards as regards the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and punishment that would permit the generalized practice of torture and impunity that prevails in the country to be prevented.”

For more information in Spanish:

Ley general contra la tortura (La Jornada, 6 de febrero de 2016)

EPN no tomó en cuenta a las ONG al enviar iniciativa de ley sobre tortura (Diario Cambio, 5 de febrero de 2016)

La iniciativa de Ley contra la Tortura promueve …aún más tortura, dicen grupos civiles (Sin Embargo, 3 de febrero de 2016)

Legislativo debe aprobar una ley contra la Tortura a la altura de los estándares internacionales (Codigo DH, 3 de febrero de 2016)

For more information from SIPAZ

Nacional: 20 ONG critican el proceso para crear la Ley General contra la Tortura (7 de julio de 2015)

Chiapas/Nacional: 26 de junio, Día Internacional en Apoyo de las Víctimas de la Tortura (1 de julio de 2015)

Nacional/Internacional: relator especial de Naciones Unidas sobre Tortura presenta informe sobre México en Ginebra, Suiza (10 de marzo de 2015)

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