On May 17th, the United Nations Organization Committee against Torture of (CAT) gave its opinion after the evaluation of the matter submitted by Mexico in April. It issued 98 recommendations that the Mexican government, through Foreign Affairs, undertook to analyze and work on: “Mexico will continue open to international scrutiny and will place special emphasis on the cooperation that the various agencies, agencies and countries have offered, to address to make effective the existing legal framework to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights in Mexico, as well as to perfect it, when required.” The Mexican authorities will have a year to present new developments regarding compliance.
The CAT considered that the practice of torture in Mexico “is very worrying” and urged the Mexican State to “pronounce itself unambiguously in favor of respecting the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and publicly announce that whoever commits acts of this nature, be complicit in them or tolerate them, will be personally responsible for such acts before the law, will be subject to criminal prosecution and appropriate sanctions.”
It pointed out “the serious shortcomings of the investigation of acts of torture and ill-treatment in Mexico, as well as the persistence of high levels of impunity associated with this type of crime.” It also regretted that detention in custody of suspects is maintained in the legal system, although the existence of a constitutional reform project is taken into account, which, if approved, would suppose its elimination.
The CAT asked Mexico to guarantee the civilian command of the National Guard in order to “preserve its independence” and “ensure that the tasks of maintaining public order are in charge, to the greatest extent possible, of civil and non-military authorities.” “On the other hand, the lack of clarity about the applicable regulations regarding the use of force and in relation to the identification of members of the security forces and their vehicles is also a matter of concern,” it stressed.
It was concerned by reports that “the use of torture to obtain confessions is common and that confessions obtained through torture are used against the accused as evidence of guilt before the courts.”
The CAT urged the implementation of “effective measures” to ensure that detainees enjoy in practice all fundamental safeguards from the start of their detention in accordance with international standards, in particular: the right to be assisted without delay by a lawyer and to receive free legal assistance in case of need, among other concerns.
For more information in Spanish:
“Muy preocupante”, práctica de tortura en México: Comité de ONU (La Jornada, 17 de mayo de 2019)
La ONU cuestiona designación de militar en retiro al mando de la GN (Proceso, 17 de mayo de 2019)
Urge ONU a México a prohibir la tortura y contar con un registro de detenciones (SDP Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)
Emite ONU 98 recomendaciones a México ante preocupación por práctica de tortura (MVS Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ: