National/International: Army and security forces involved in extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances: US State Department

July 21, 2015


The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on the human-rights situation in Mexico. It indicated that, in 2014, the Mexican Army and security forces were involved in forcible disappearances and murder, as in the cases of the 43 disappeared youth from Ayotzinapa and the 22 civilians killed in Tlatlaya. In this sense, the report notes that “significant problems related to human rights include the police and military due to their involvement in serious abuses, such as extrajudicial murders, torture, forcible disappearances, and physical abuse.” Furthermore, the report shared the conclusions come to by Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, who denounced that these crimes are the consequence of the various irregularities that exist within the Mexican judicial system. “Impunity and corruption continue to be serious problems, particularly at the state and local levels, in the armed forces, and the judiciary,” the report notes. With reference to organized crime, it mentions that “organized-crime groups are also responsible for numerous murders, frequently acting with impunity and in alliance with corrupt state, local, and federal security officials.”

With respect to the Tlatlaya case in Mexico State, which took place on 30 June 2014, the report reviewed the confrontation between civilians and soldiers in which “22 individuals were killed under suspicious circumstances, some of them after having surrendered.” With regard to the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, the report sustained the conclusions which the Federal Attorney General’s Office had come to, maintaining the charges against the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, and his wife, who were directly accused of responsibility for the disappearance of the students.

Beyond this, State highlighted other serious human-rights problems in Mexico, including the lamentable conditions in prisons and arbitrary arrests. In addition, the State report mentioned the death-threats and violence directed against human-rights defenders and journalists, abuse against migrants, domestic violence, human trafficking, abuse against people with disabilities, social and economic discrimination against the indigenous population, the exploitation of child labor, and attacks and threats against the gay community.

It should be mentioned that the conclusions of the report will serve as evidence for the U.S. Congress to consider when reviewing the amount of economic assistance to be granted next year to Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos en materia de Derechos Humanos 2014, versión en inglés: Mexico 2014 Human Rights Report

Ejército y fuerzas de seguridad de México, involucradas en asesinatos y desaparición de personas: EU (Proceso, 25 de junio de 2015)

Unilateral informe de EU sobre derechos humanos, responde Gobierno de México (Aristegui Noticias, 27 de junio de 2015)

Impunidad y corrupción son “problemas serios” en México, advierte EU(CNN México, 25 de junio de 2015)

National/International: WOLA requests that U.S. suspends the Mérida Initiative

July 21, 2015


The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), together with another seven human-rights Mexican and U.S. organizations, has requested that the U.S. government arrest the resources earmarked for the Mérida Initiative, due to the fact that the Mexican State has not observed its requirements in terms of human rights. In 008, when the Initiative began, the U.S. Congress made the resources destined for Mexican security forces conditional on significant advances in the realm of human rights. “To detain these resources would signify a very clear message that the U.S. condemns the grave human-rights violations seen in Mexico,” explained Maureen Meyer, the primary coordinator of WOLA in Mexico. In their report, the organizations indicated that, according to their investigations and data, in addition to the findings made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, Mexico has not progressed in this sense. “In general, to provide Mexican security forces with more training and equipment while corruption and abuses go on unchecked does not contribute to security in the country, but instead continues exacerbating an already grave human-rights situation,” notes the memo.

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden a EU retener fondos a México por derechos humanos (LaJornada, 9 de julio de 2015)

El memorándum completo (, 9 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/US: 15% of the funds of the Mérida Initiative may be tied conditionally for human-rights concerns (18 May 2012)

International/National: Northern Command suspends part of its military assistance to Mexico

May 16, 2015


Declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the U.S. that have been published in The Intercept provide access to an October 2014 report from the U.S. military’s Northern Command (Northcom); the document reveals that due to the extrajudicial executions carried out by Batallion 102 in June 2014 in Tlatlaya, Mexico State, Washington suspended some aid that had been earmarked for the Mexican Army.  The same report also addresses the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal Rural School which took place in September 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero, in which various public officials were involved: “[this case raises] alarming questions about the generalized character of the cartel violence in the region and the level of complicity with the State.”

The Intercept article notes that, since 2008, the U.S. government has transferred $3 billion in security assistance to Mexico, with much of this having been channelled through the Mérida Initiative, an anti-drug strategy inspired by Plan Colombia.  To this support is added the sale of arms and other police and military equipment (Mexico being the U.S.’s principal Latin American trade partner), which reached $1.15 billion last year.

For more information (in Spanish):

Suspende EU apoyo a batallón del Ejército implicado en el caso Tlatlaya: “The Intercept” (Proceso, 10 de mayo de 2015)

‘‘Preguntas alarmantes’’ de Northcom sobre matanzas y desapariciones en México (La Jornada, 13 de mayo de 2015)

El Departamento de Estado de EU suspende asistencia al Batallón implicado en el caso Tlatlaya (Sin Embargo, 13 de mayo de 2015)

Guerrero/International: Brigade for Ayotzinapa travels to Europe

April 24, 2015



After holding a meeting with Stravos Lambardini, representative for human rights from the European Union, the father of a normalist student, an Ayotzinapa student, and a member of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights departed on 15 April to Europe.  Between that time and 19 May, the brigade plans to visit 18 cities in 13 countries to inform the European community about the continuing struggles of the parents for the presentation with life of the 43 disappeared students.  Meetings will be held with student communities, collectives, social organizations, and unionists, while there will also be held marches and rallies in front of Mexican embassies and consulates.  Talks will also be given at universities.

In a communique, Tlachinollan explains that “included within the objectives of the European brigade is support for the demands of the parents that investigative liens be opened regarding the responsibility of the Mexican Army and the federal police in the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, as well as to stress the international responsibility of the European governments for the grave human-rights violations committed against the students, for they have signed bilateral security and trade agreements with Mexico.  This has meant the sale of arms and training of the Mexican police and military, despite the fact that human rights are so violated in Mexico.”

“We seek real guarantees of non-repetition.  These we must construct among ourselves, with the peoples and communities, together with social organizations and collectives.  We cannot ask for these guarantees from the very same governmental institutions that contribute to human-rights violations,” says Omar García, a member of the Ayotzinapa Student Committee and a survivor of the 26 September attack.  He indicated as well that the tour seeks to bring the movement to the global sphere: “on this occasion, our counterparts in Europe are social and human-rights organizations, collectives, autonomous media (or however they are called), and organized civil society.  We come to express our gratitude for all the support, and to insist that it is necessary for us from below to continue to organize ourselves toward the transformation of this entire system of power and corruption that is based on looting, racism, exploitation, and repression against our peoples.  We must do this together, from our countries of origin, coordinated and organized.  This way, while the powerful have globalized plundering, we have the sacred right of globalizing resistance, dignified rage, and joyful rebelliousness.”

For more information (in Spanish):

COMUNICADO | Recorre Europa brigada de Ayotzinapa (México) por la presentación con vida de los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos ( Tlachinollan, 15 de abril de 2015)

Brigada por Ayotzinapa viaja a Europa; visitarán 13 países para exigir justicia (Animal Político, 15 de abril de 2015)

Comisión de Ayotzinapa denunciará en 13 países de Europa la crisis de derechos humanos en el país (El Sur, 16 de abril de 2015)

Padres de los 43 viajan a la Unión Europea para informar caso Aytozinapa en embajadas de 13 países (Revolución 3.0, 16 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (6 de marzo de 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)

Oaxaca/National: authorities attempt to repress “Migrant Way of the Cross”

April 23, 2015

Ciudad Ixtepec (@SIPAZ archivo)

Ciudad Ixtepec (@SIPAZ archive)

The “Migrant Way of the Cross,” comprised of about 400 Central American migrants and activists, began on 24 March in Chiapas and arrived a week later in Oaxaca.  After spending five days at the Migrants’ Home in Ciudad Ixtepec, it planned to leave on 9 April toward Mexico City.  The plan there was to meet with human-rights organizations and a group of senators toward the end of denouncing the human-rights violations that undocumented migrants, principally Central American in origin, face while traversing the country en route to the United States.

However, the migrants were not allowed to leave Ciudad Ixtepec, as units from the federal police and the National Institute on Migration (INM) erected three checkpoints in the zone and threatened the bus operators, warning that they would arrested for human trafficking.  For this reason, the operators refused to transport the migrants.

The priest Alejandro Solalinde denounced these actions as a “boycott” and a demonstration of what migrants suffer.  A dialogue table was then agreed to that would include Ardelio Vargas Fosado, head of the INM, to negotiate the transit of the 400 migrants to Mexico City.  Nonetheless, to date no agreement has been come to, and the risk continues that the members of the caravan will be deported.

For more information (in Spanish):

Fracasan negociaciones para continuar Viacrucis del Migrante (La Jornada, 11 de abril de 2015)

Viacrucis del Migrante parte de Oaxaca rumbo al DF (El Universal, 9 de abril de 2015)

El Viacrucis del Migrante avanza rumbo al DF (La Jornada, 9 de abril de 2015)

Impiden salida del Viacrucis del Migrante encabezado por Solalinde (La Jornada, 9 de abril de 2015)

INM boicotea vía crucis migrante, denuncia Solalinde (SDP Noticias, 9 de abril de 2015)

Sale Viacrucis del Migrante hacia el DF pese a operativos del INM (Agencia Quadratin, 9 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Chiapas/Oaxaca/Tabasco: Founding of the Collective of Defenders of Migrants and Refugees (23 April 2015)

Mexico/National: Honduran migrant dies of drowning in presence of INM agents, says La 72 (22 March 2015)

Mexico/Tabasco: INM agent’s legal demand against Fray Tomás González(13 November 2014)

Mexico/Chiapas: Caravan of Central American Mothers, “Bridges of Hope,” in San Cristóbal (16 December 2014)

National/Chiapas: Massive raids against migrants and attack on human-rights defenders (3 May 2014)

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope for the Ayotzinapa case

March 21, 2015


March-rally, 5 February 2015 in Chilpancingo. Photo @SIPAZ

The parents of the 43 students forcibly disappeared in Iguala confirmed their trust in the team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which at the beginning of this month started to review the evidence on the happenings of 26 September 2014.  Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the parents of the disappeared, said that the arrival of the independent specialists represents an advance, given that it provides hope that truthful results will result from the investigations that they plan to undertake, “rather than a theater put on by the Federal Attorney General’s Office [PGR].”  He added that it is hoped that the PGR will come to an agreement regarding the inspection of military barracks on the part of the parents, as they have been told that the conditions are not appropriate at this time.  The parents want to know that they are not just going in circles.  Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, their lawyer, has specified that the IACHR specialists are not those in charge of carrying out the investigation, but rather that they will review what has occurred so far within the ongoing investigation so as to make recommendations when irregularities are found.

In recent days, relatives of Julio César Mondragón Fontes, the student who was murdered and defigured, rejected the conclusions made by the PGR that accuse the Iguala municipal police officer Luis Francisco Martínez Díaz as responsible for the murder.  The relatives noted that after five months without the minimum of attention dedicated to clarifying the torture and execution of Julio César, “now the PGR seeks to close the case with a summary media action, thus leaving unresolved one of the very ‘reasons for which the Ayotzinapa case cannot be closed.'”  Beyond this, they demanded that the torture and extrajudicial execution of the youth be investigated as a murder.  They have demanded that the investigation be serious, profound, and based in science.  In a communique released on 4 March, the family denounces that the case has been investigated using two lines directed by Chilpancingo: murder and organized crime.  “This makes no sense, given that it was torture and an extrajudicial execution.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Llegada del grupo de CIDH, un “avance”, afirman familiares (Milenio, 6 de marzo de 2015)

Expertos de la CIDH se reúnen con autoridades encargadas de la investigación de Ayotzinapa (SIDIDH, 5 de marzo de 2015)

Familiares de normalista exigen a Arely Gómez que retome el caso (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)

National: Peace Brigades International (PBI) publishes report, “Mexico at Peace? Security Strategy and Human Rights”

February 5, 2015


On 21 January, Peace Brigades International, a non-governmental organization with 30 years of experience in international accompaniment and a permanent presence in Mexico since 1999, published its new report, “Mexico at Peace? Security Strategy and Human Rights.”  The document is based on interviews carried out by PBI with human-rights defenders who call into question a number of aspects of the federal government’s security strategy, particularly with regard to the “considerable role still played by the Army in public-security tasks, with no clear end-date [in sight].”

The new report stresses that, despite the official discourse, “PBI has not observed a Mexico at peace during the first two years of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, but rather can speak to the continuity of the problems related to public-security policies and their worrying effects on the respect for human rights in the country.”

The report has been presented publicly at a meeting attended by members of civil organizations who shared their concerns regarding the human-rights situation in the country, as well as diplomatic representatives from the German, Dutch, Canadian, French, Swiss, Norwegian, and European Union embassies.

In its conclusions to the report, PBI manifests its worry for the present context of insecurity and calls on foreign governments and their diplomatic representatives in Mexico to base their relations with Mexico on the state of Mexican human-rights defenders.  In this way, it also called on the Mexican State to recognize the importance and legitimacy of the work carried out by rights-defenders, to assure their physical and psychological integrity, and to implement effective measures of protection, both nationally and internationally.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe completo

Boletín de PBI México destaca consecuencias de la estrategia de seguridad para la defensa de DDHH (PBI, 21 de enero de 2015)

México, sin paz a pesar del discurso oficial: PBI (Centro ProDH, 22 de enero de 2015)

Repite Peña la lucha anticrimen del calderonismo, afirma grupo PBI (La Jornada, 22 de enero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Peace Brigades International presents report on situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico (23 April 2013)


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