National/International: Civil Organizations Force Foreign Affairs to Publish Report of UN Sub-committee for the Prevention of Torture

May 1, 2018

TortureStop Torture (@Desinformemonos)

On April 12th, after four months in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE in its Spanish acronym) kept secret the report of the Sub-committee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the United Nations on its second visit to Mexico from December 12th to 21st, 2016, civil organizations forced the document to be made public through a request for access to information.

These organizations indicated that, “although the SPT recognized legislative advances regarding the prevention of torture in the country in the published report, it also reiterated that torture is a widespread practice and confirmed that the almost absolute impunity that prevails in cases fosters its repetition.” They stated that the Sub-committee noted that, “the lack of independence of the forensic services of the prosecutor’s offices translates into the concealment of acts of torture and documented that many persons deprived of their liberty do not denounce torture and ill-treatment for fear of reprisals.” In addition to the impunity, the Sub-committee noted its concern about “different forms of corruption and collusion between complex criminal groups and prison authorities and personnel.”

The organizations called on the Mexican State to fully comply with the recommendations made by the SPT, and include civil society organizations, and experts in its implementation.

“Among the recommendations made by the sub-committee to the Mexican State are ensuring that all authorities empowered to deprive the liberty of citizens are trained and fully apply the standards of rational and proportionate use of force with a human rights approach, instruct the State agents on the prohibition of the use of torture, adopt necessary measures to prevent it and sanction it, among others,” La Jornada concluded.

The president of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH in its Spanish acronym), Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez, reported that in the last 17 years that organization issued about 300 recommendations for torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, based on more than 11,500 complaints. The CNDH found that “the gap between a phenomenon recognized as widespread and the few convictions for torture indicate that impunity for acts of torture is prevalent.”

For more information in Spanish:

Prevalece impunidad de actos de tortura en México, señala subcomité de la ONU (La Jornada, 18 de abril de 2018)

La CNDH emitió 300 recomendaciones por tortura y tratos crueles en los últimos 17 años (El Sur, 17 de abril de 2018)

La CNDH emitió 300 recomendaciones por tortura y tratos crueles en los últimos 17 años (Proceso, 16 de abril de 2018)

ONU confirma la práctica generalizada de la tortura en México (SIDIDH, 16 de abril de 2018)

Informe del Subcomité para la Prevención de la Tortura y Otros Tratos o Penas Crueles, Inhumanos o Degradantes (Subcomité de Naciones Unidas, diciembre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Internacional/Nacional : Human Rights Watch publica informe sobre la situación de derechos humanos en México y el mundo (19 de enero de 2018)

Nacional: Senado aprueba Ley contra la Tortura (29 de abril de 2017)

Nacional/Internacional : « la tortura y los malos tratos siguen siendo generalizados en México » Juan E. Mendez (7 de marzo de 2017)

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National/Guerrero: CNDH Report Causes PGR Criticisms

April 24, 2018

PGRPhoto @ Milenio

On March 28th, the president of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) delivered his 2017 Activities Report where he took the opportunity to ask the Federal Government for the security that Mexico needs.

Regarding the government of the current president Enrique Peña Nieto, it noted “Mexico has not experienced a significant and objective change towards greater respect and validity of human rights; nor has our democratic state of law been substantially strengthened, nor has the environment been changed positively, when millions of Mexicans confronted each other on a daily basis, characterized by the binomials of insecurity and violence, impunity and corruption, inequality and poverty.”

He also regretted that there were major attacks against women, journalists and migrants.

The CNDH “asserted that the law enforcement system “is overwhelmed” and warned that in the current six-year term of office the human rights situation is unfavorable, including the Iguala case, where crimes against students of the normal school of Ayotzinapa were perpetrated.”

On these allegations in the case of Iguala, the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) responded by means of a statement that “it does not correspond” to the CNDH to make inquiries into it and that this agency “cannot replace” the office of the Attorney General in its functions.

Given these criticisms of the PGR, the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) supported the CNDH’s actions and assured that “autonomous human rights organizations do not seek confrontation, but rather contribute to truth and justice.”

For more information in Spanish:

González Pérez demanda más seguridad a Peña Nieto (Sexenio, 10 de abril de 2018)

Desfavorable balance en derechos humanos: González Pérez  (La Jornada, 28 de marzo de 2018)

ONU respalda investigación de CNDH por caso Ayotzinapa (La Jornada, 4 de abril de 2018)

Molestia de la PGR, porque somos “incómodos”: CNDH (Vanguardia, 3 de abril de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero/Nacional/Internacional : Nuevos informes sobre caso Ayotzinapa (15 de marzo de 2018)

Guerrero: PGR buscará cerrar caso Ayotzinapa antes de diciembre (6 de marzo de 2018)

Guerrero / México – Nacional: Ayotzinapa: Caravana Rompiendo el Silencio y el Olvido (3 de marzo de 2018)

Guerrero / Nacional-México: Ayotzinapa a 40 meses de la desaparición de los 43 sigue la “indolencia” del gobierno (30 de enero de 2018)

Nacional : EPN promulga Ley de Seguridad Interior. CNDH promoverá acciones de inconstitucionalidad. (29 de diciembre de 2017)


International: Solidarity with Organizations that Fight for and Defend Territories and Natural Resources in Latin America

March 25, 2018

SolidarityPhoto; Encounter of international accompaniment and observation organizations, Bogota 2017

The International Network of Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation, formed by some 14 organizations, met in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for their annual meeting and published the following statement:

Two years after the murder of human rights defender Berta Isabel Caceres Flores, Lenca indigenous leader, general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH in its Spanish acronym), the organizations of the International Network of Organizations of International Follow-up and Observation welcome the capture of one of the alleged masterminds on March 3rd of this year. However, we express our concern about the lack of progress in the investigations into the case, since to date no conviction has been issued, as expressed by family members and social organizations in Honduras [1].

The organizations that make up the International Network of Organizations of Accompaniment and Observation accompany defenders, communities and organizations in their work to defend territory and the environment in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. From our work of accompaniment, we observe that those who defend nature and natural commons are among the groups that face the most risks for their work. Recently, the international organization Global Witness recorded that in 2017 alone, 197 people working around this issue have been killed [2]. We also highlight the high and differentiated risks to which women defenders are exposed. In addition, the high rate of impunity in cases of assault on defenders in these countries is worrisome [3].

Like other international organizations [4], the subscribed organizations observe that those who defend territory and the environment face de-legitimization, discredit, stigmatization and criminalization processes, which affect the personal, organizational, family and community [level], and generate an adverse context for the defense of the right to territory and the environment.

The work of the defenders of the land and territory is fundamental for the guarantee of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights as a means to have a decent life. The organizations of the Network consider it key that the international community publicly recognize their important work. Likewise, that it guarantees the integral monitoring of the bodies that investigate the cases of attacks to defenders, with the objective of achieving justice and reparation for the victims and their families.

Finally, we consider it important for the international community to put all the will and resources at its disposal to create a safe environment for those who defend the right to territory and natural resources, promoting their valuable work, dismantling stereotypes and stigmatization and rejecting criminalization processes that harm and endanger their lives and work in favor of society.

[1]“Defensoras de la Madre Tierra a dos años de asesinato de Berta Cáceres exigen avances en la investigación”, Criterio, 2 de marzo de 2018. Disponible en: https://criterio.hn/2018/03/02/defensoras-la-madre-tierra-dos-anos-asesinato-berta-caceres-exigen-avances-la-investigacion/

[2]Global Witness/The Guardian. Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017. 2 de febrero de 2018 Disponible en: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/nueva-informaci%C3%B3n-revela-que-197-personas-defensoras-de-la-tierra-y-el-medio-ambiente-han-sido-asesinadas-en-2017/

[3]FrontLineDefenders. Informe Anual sobre defensores/as de derechos humanos en riesgo 2017. 22 de enero de 2018.

[4]CIDH. Criminalización de defensoras y defensores de derechos humanos (OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 49/15). 31 de diciembre de 2015.

Para más información: 

El caso por el homicidio de Berta Cáceres suma un detenido más; activistas acusan que no es suficiente, The New York Times, 5 de marzo de 2018

Advierten que Honduras busca cerrar investigación sobre el crimen de Berta Cáceres, Proceso, 5 de marzo de 2018

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: La caravana por la Paz, la Vida y la Justicia llegó a San Cristóbal de las Casas,  8 de abril de 2016

Justicia para Berta Cáceres y Nelson Noé García. Protección para Gustavo Castro Soto (29 de marzo de 2016)

Chiapas/Internacional: Asesinan a defensora hondureña (Berta Cáceres) en presencia de defensor mexicano (Gustavo Castro) (7 de marzo de 2016)


National: Amnesty International: Extreme Violence Increased Throughout Mexico

March 1, 2018

AmnestyPhoto @ DesdeAbajo

On February 22nd, Tania Reneaum, Executive Director of Amnesty International (AI), presented her annual report on Mexico and denounced that violence increased throughout the country during 2017. She mentioned that, in the last year of the presidency of President Enrique Peña Nieto, there were 42,583 homicides between January and November, a figure that according to the report could be higher, since some crimes are not reported to the police and not all cases led to official measures.

Amnesty International also indicated that the Mexican authorities failed to clarify the location of 34,656 people reported in the national registry of missing persons. It also lamented the problem of extrajudicial executions and that “the authorities did not publish the number of people killed or injured in clashes with the police and the military.”

Regarding the issue of migrants traveling to the United States, Amnesty expressed great concern, especially about their treatment during their journeys and the policies implemented by President Donald Trump.

The executive director stressed that “2017 has to be remembered as the year in which the Senate of the Republic and the President of the Republic ignored the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and from NGOs, to carefully review the Internal Security Law.”

Despite the serious human rights crisis, the organization also noted that there is “a growing movement of resistance, led by both new and experienced activists, which really allows us to hope to reverse the tendency to oppression and fear.”

For more information in Spanish:

América Latina en alerta por “altos niveles” de violencia: Amnistía Internacional (El Imparcial de Oaxaca, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Se agravó la violencia en México en 2017: Amnistía Internacional (Proceso, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Amnistía Internacional: 2017, año de nuevos récords de violencia en México (Noticieros Televisa, 22 de febrero de 2018)

Surge nueva ola de activismo en AL por crisis de derechos humanos: AI (El Economista, 22 de febrero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: feminicidios a la alza en 2017 (11 de enero de 2018)


Mexico – National/International: Latest Amnesty International Report on the Deadly Return of Central American Asylum Seekers from Mexico

February 15, 2018

AI

Amnesty International (AI) denounced in its latest report “Ignored and Unprotected: The Deadly Return of Central American Asylum Seekers from Mexico” that the Mexican immigration authorities routinely force thousands of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to return to their countries without taking into account the risks to their lives and safety when they return.

The report is based on a survey that reflects 500 experiences of Central American people traveling through Mexico. AI concluded that the National Institute of Migration (INM in its Spanish acronym) systematically violates the non-refoulement principle, a binding pillar of international and Mexican law that prohibits the return of people to situations where they are at real risk of persecution or other serious violations of human rights. “Instead of giving them the protection to which they are entitled, Mexico is illegally turning its back on these people in need”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s director for the Americas.

Amnesty International found that 75% of the people detained by the INM had not been informed of their right to seek asylum in Mexico, despite the fact that Mexican law expressly provides that it be done and that the public authorities assured Amnesty International that this provision was observed.

For more information in Spanish:

Informe: Ignoradas y sin protección (Amnistía Internacional)

Cortometraje: A través de los ojos de una persona refugiada (Amnistía Internacional)

México envía a centroamericanos a la muerte, denuncia Amnistía Internacional (Sididh, 24 de enero de 2018)

México incumple ante migrantes: Amnistía Internacional; “es un área de oportunidad”, responde el INM (Proceso, 23 de enero 2018)


Guerrero/National/International: MEPs Highlight the Grave Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Mexico

February 8, 2018

MEPs

On January 9th, 35 European parliamentarians issued a letter to Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, Luis Videgaray Case, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Hector Astudillo Flores, Constitutional Governor of the State of Guerrero, to express their deep concern over the situation of human rights defenders in Mexico.

The parliamentarians refer to the report of the DTT Network “Hope Does Not End”, according to which “during the presidential term of President Enrique Peña Nieto, 106 murders or extrajudicial executions of human rights defenders and 81 disappearances took place, to highlight only the most serious crimes within a broader list of attacks.”

They call on the Mexican state and especially the state of Guerrero to address this situation: “We are particularly concerned about the grave situation in the State of Guerrero of the relatives of disappeared persons, the communities that have been forcibly displaced, as well as the people and human rights organizations that accompany them.”

For more information in Spanish:

Carta de los parlamentarios europeos (Parlamento Europeo, 9 de enero de 2018)

Informe: La esperanza no se agota (Red TdT, 7 de septiembre de 2017)

Apremian parlamentarios europeos a resolver la “grave situación” en Guerrero (La Jornada Guerrero, 18 de enero de 2018)

Parlamentarios de Europa alertan ante la falta de garantías para defensores de derechos humanos en Guerrero (El Sur Periódico de Guerrero, 18 de enero de 2018)

Urgen parlamentarios europeos a defender a activistas en México (SIDIDH, 18 de enero)

Parlamentarios europeos dan la voz de alarma sobre situación de personas defensoras de derechos humanos en Guerrero (Centro de derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 17 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Acción urgente: Ejecuciones extrajudiciales y detenciones de policías comunitarios y de miembros del CECOP (10 de enero de 2018)

Guerrero : ONGs piden « garantizar derechos de víctimas, comunidades y personas y organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos en el Estado » (29 de septiembre de 2017)

Guerrero : se declara “alerta” para proteger a defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos (19 de septiembre de 2017)


International/National: Human Rights Watch Publishes Report on Human Rights Situation in Mexico and the World

February 4, 2018

Human Rights Watch

In its most recent report on the situation of human rights in the world, Human Rights Watch, an organization based in Washington, USA, highlighted the abuses of members of the armed forces, impunity in emblematic cases (as Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa), the habitual use of torture, the Law of Internal Security and violence against defenders and journalists in the case of Mexico among other issues.

The document states that, “during the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which began in 2012, members of the security forces have been implicated in serious and repeated human rights violations -including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, and torture- in the framework of actions against organized crime.” In addition, “the government has made little progress in the prosecution of those responsible for recent abuses, and even less in the large number of abuses committed by soldiers and police since former President Felipe Calderon began the “war on drug trafficking” in Mexico in 2006.”

Regarding forced disappearance, it indicated that “it is common for agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and police officers not to take basic investigative measures to identify those responsible for forced disappearances, and they often indicate to relatives of missing persons that they should investigate on their own. In general, the authorities have not identified remains or parts of human bodies found in different parts of the country, including clandestine graves”, despite the fact that “the federal government has promoted potentially promising initiatives to find people whose whereabouts are unknown.”

Regarding access to justice, the report emphasizes that “it is common for Mexico to torture detainees to obtain information and confessions. Torture is most frequently applied in the period between which the victims are detained, often arbitrarily, and until they are placed at the disposal of agents of the Public Ministry. During this time, victims are often held incommunicado in military bases or other illegal detention centers.” It also adds that “it is common for the criminal justice system not to provide justice to victims of violent crimes and human rights violations. This is due to reasons that include corruption, lack of training and sufficient resources, and the complicity of agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and public defenders with delinquents and abusive officials.”

For more information in Spanish:

Informe Mundial 2018 (Human Rights Watch, enero de 2018)

Human Rights Watch condena impunidad en abusos de fuerzas de seguridad en México (Proceso, 18 de enero de 2018)

Con Peña, “graves y reiteradas violaciones de derechos humanos”: HRW (Aristegui Noticias, 18 de enero de 2018)

Señalan impunidad en México (NVI Noticias, 19 de enero de 2018).

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional/Guerrero: Informes poco favorables sobre corrupción y derechos humanos en México (3 de febrero de 2016)