Oaxaca: COVID-19 Cases Rising in Prisons; Civil Organizations Denounce Lack of Access to Health Services

Oaxaca penal© Primera Línea

On June 3rd, the government of Oaxaca through the Secretariat of Public Security (SSPO) reported the case of six inmates of the Ixcotel Central Penitentiary, who were Covid-19 positive. The agency reported that since the first symptoms were recorded, “people have been kept in isolation, under surveillance and observation, with due sanitary precautions”, and also the staff and other inmates who had contact with them. These cases are added to the other seven registered in the Tanivet Penitentiary Center, Tlacolula on May 23rd, who are in recovery, as reported by the same institution.

However, in a statement from the Coordination for the Freedom of Criminalized Defenders in Oaxaca, they denounced the lack of medical care for Fredy García Ramírez, spokesperson for the Committee for the Defense of Indigenous Peoples (CODEDI) and a group of other prisoners who present various symptoms: “On May 31st, Fredy García informs us what he has symptoms such as high body temperature, intense body aches, the defender denounces that there are a significant number of inmates who are presenting similar symptoms and that on several occasions they have gone to request medical attention, however, he denounces that since May 15th there has been no plant doctor assigned in the health area who can provide the service, and that only twice a week a doctor arrives to meet the needs of the entire prison population, to be cared for, they must request it and wait their turn as requested. On June 1st, a doctor came to review a group of 80 inmates, including the defender, he pointed out that they had only an hour and a half to be see to all the applicants, such that the basic vital signs such as temperature, pressure or oxygenation were not taken, but he only asked about the recurring symptoms and supplying four paracetamol pills, we did not receive any diagnosis and no prescription to continue treatment, and this situation was repeated with the other inmates” [sic]. In addition, the organization warned that, since the beginning of the year, the prison’s sanitary and health measures did not guarantee the life and integrity of the inmates.

For its part, the civil association Asiggal requested an investigation where it monitors, among other aspects, the care and subsequent results of the omissions or actions of the authorities in the face of the health crisis, the shielding of information or no transparency, and thus compile a series of testimonies that “make up a protest of minimum access to human rights that, by law, accessible persons deprived of freedom should have access to.”

“Oaxaca, to date, continues to be one of the states with the least transparency. In turn, as we were able to verify in the course of the interviews, it is a state where the worst practices or absence of medical, food and sanitary care were clearly seen during the pandemic”, they said.

Other organizations such as the Human Rights Defender of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) urged the SSPO “security policies under a rights approach, which guarantees the health, dignified life and personal integrity of people deprived of their liberty in the different state detention centers” and requested the implementation of measures to avoid the exacerbation of infections within the centers where cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed.

For more information in Spanish: 

“Solamente nos queda suplicar” : Así se vive la pandemia desde prisión (Asi Legal, 3 de junio 2020)

Aumenta brote de COVID-19 en penal de Tanivet; presos denuncian falta de atención médica(Educa Oaxaca, 3 de junio 2020)

Comunicado Consorcio Oaxaca (Consorcio Oaxaca, 3 de junio 2020)

Dan positivo a Covid-10 seis internos del penal Ixcotel; suman 13 casos en prisiones (El Universal, 3 de junio 2020)

Urge DDHPO reforzar acciones para mitigar contagios de Covid 19 en centros de reclusión(Consulta.com, 15 de junio 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ: 

Oaxaca: “Femicidal Violence, The Endless Pandemic”, Oaxaca Consortium (June 8, 2020)

Oaxaca : Pasaron 6 meses y gobernador sigue sin nombrar a titular de la Comisión de Búsqueda de Personas en el estado, denuncian; una “burla” cuando suman al menos 500 desaparecidos.

Oaxaca/National: No Truth nor Justice for Victims 13 Years after Forced Disappearance Gabriel Alberto Cruz Sanchez and Edmundo Reyes Amaya (May 28, 2020)

Chiapas: Women Prisoners in CERSS No. 5 Denounce Violence in COVID-19 Pandemic (June 8, 2020)

Guerrero: Confirman 51 contagiados por Covid-19 de 605 trabajadores en minera del Carrizalillo; riesgo para las comunidades cercanas

Chiapas: Cereza Collective Requests Release of Women Prisoners in San Cristobal de Las Casas (June 4, 2020)

Chiapas: Fear that Infected Prisoners in San Cristobal de Las Casas “Will only Come Out Dead” (May 26, 2020)


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