On May 16th, the Oaxacan organization Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity filed a complaint with the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) within the framework of the 66th period of sessions of that body, for torture and serious violations of the guarantees of the defender of human rights, Damian Gallardo Martinez from his detention on May 18th, 2013 until his release on December 28th, 2018. It is worth noting that, since 2002, one of the powers of the CAT is to be able to hear individual complaints.
Consortium explained that by resorting to this mechanism “justice is sought not only in the individual case but to generate a precedent that transcends and ends with the criminalization of social protest and the use of torture in arbitrary arrests of defenders in Oaxaca.” It recalled that “Gallardo Martinez was arbitrarily detained on May 18th, 2013, within the framework of the criminalization of the teachers’ struggle and social protest, deployed during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto against opponents of the “educational reform””; and that “during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, at least 141 arbitrary detentions of defenders in Oaxaca have been documented.”
Consortium also emphasized that “in the case of the state of Oaxaca, there is not a single sentence for torture to date”; and that “at national level, sentences are also very rare.” It indicated that in the case of Gallardo Martinez, after six years of denouncing torture, “progress in the investigations is null and void”, which is why it “decided to seek justice at the international level by filing a complaint with the United Nations.”
The complaint asked the CAT to urge the Mexican State to prosecute, and punish with appropriate penalties all state agents and authorities responsible for violations of the Convention Against Torture as well as to fully compensate for the damage suffered, including “a public acknowledgment of responsibility that impacts on the cessation of the criminalization of social protest in Oaxaca”; among other demands.
For more information in Spanish:
Denuncia ONG a México ante la ONU (Vanguardia, 18 de mayo de 2019)
Denuncia al Estado mexicano por tortura (NVI Noticias, 17 de mayo de 2019)
Frente a impunidad en el país se denuncia ante la ONU a Estado Mexicano por Tortura en el caso de Damián Gallardo Martínez (Consorcio, 16 de mayo de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Nacional/Oaxaca: German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico (April 10, 2017)
Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damian Gallardo (December 30, 2014)