International: German organizations call on Mexico to commit itself better to human rights

December 26, 2015

Blog Foto

On 15 December, the Mexican Embassy in Germany organized a meeting with the subsecretary for multilateral affairs and human rights from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ruiz Cabañas Izquierdo, for a dialogue regarding the state of human rights in Mexico. After the event, the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico (DMKRM) lamented that the official had not recognized the human-rights crisis in the country. With regard to the presence of the Army in the streets and the accusations that exist against soldiers for numerous cases of extrajudicial executions and human-rights violations against the people, Carola Hausotter, executive director of DMKRM, said that “the fundamental contradictions between the official discourse of the diplomatic corps and the information received regarding human rights in Mexico that the German Coordination receives through its counterparts in Mexico and international organizations such as the UN has been notorious.” Regarding the problem of impunity, Ruiz Cabañas “denied the rate of 98%, calling into question the official data that support this conclusion.” According to a press conference published by DMKRM, the subsecretary failed to recognize that the majority of cases of attacks against human-rights defenders and journalists that remain in impunity. Due to such “evasive attitudes” the members of DMKRM, which include Amnesty International and the Ecumenical Office for Peace and Justice, called on the Mexican government to “submit a concrete plan of measures to implement […] in accordance with the human-rights recommendations formulated by international organizations, thus recognizing their validity and legitimacy.”

It should be mentioned that on 9 June 2015, the Mexican and German governments signed a Declaration of Intention to establish a binational commission that would incorporate broad collaboration in terms of security, foreign policy, development, sustainable development, science, education, and culture. After the conference “Forcible disappearance, a systematic crime: the political crisis in Mexico,” which took place on 25 October 2015 in Germany, the DMKRM expressed its doubts regarding this project because Mexico “finds itself presently in a profound political-juridical crisis: all the institutional levels are in fact linked to organized crime.” Amidst this panorama, DMKRM concluded that the Germany State must pressure the Mexican government to adopt policies that will help advance human rights.

For more information (in Spanish):

Exigen organizaciones alemanas compromiso con los derechos humanos a Estado (Centro ProDH, 18 de diciembre de 2015)

Indigna a activistas alemanes “postura evasiva” de Peña sobre violación de derechos humanos (Proceso, 17 de diciembre de 2015)

Comunicado de prensa Coordinación alemana por los derechos humanos en México (DMKRM, 16 de diciembre de 2015)

ONG alemanas cuestionan que su país declare a México respetuoso de los derechos (La Jornada, 5 de diciembre de 2015)

Instituciones mexicanas, vinculadas al crimen organizado en todos sus niveles: ONG’s en Alemania (Proceso, 2 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Guerrero: “No more arms sales to Mexico” – German government (8 March 2015)

National/International: German activists reject security agreement with Mexico (10 February 2015

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Mexico: 5 years since the massacre of 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas

September 11, 2015

La 72 Hogar Refugio Para Personas Migrantes @VICE “La 72,” Refuge Home for Migrants @VICE

Five years ago, on 23 August 2010, 72 bodies of migrants appeared in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. 58 men and 14 women, principally from Central and South America, were kidnapped and executed in a ranch in San Fernando, close to the border with Texas. The indignation over the case was immediate. San Fernando recalled all those who are made invisible during their passage through Mexico in search of a new life. Since that time, the authorities have arrested a number of individuals but have not published information regarding whether anyone has been sentenced. Amnesty International (AI) has warned that the lack of investigation in the case “gives a green light to the criminal groups that terrorize and murder those who cross Mexico in search of security and a better life.” AI also hypothesizes that those responsible belong to criminal gangs, and it suspects that many of these worked in collusion with local security agents.

In Tenosique, Tabasco, the year after these events transpired, in honor of the 72 victims, there was founded the “72 Refuge Home for Migrants,” which provides housing for migrants en route to the U.S. AI specified that, since the massacre in San Fernando, hundreds of other men, women, and children who sought to reach the United States via Mexico have been harassed, disappeared, kidnapped, raped, forced into sexual slavery, and massacred.

For more information (in Spanish):

La historia de la 72: Un mensaje de esperanza frente a masacres de migrantes (VICE, 25 de agosto de 2015)

Masacre en San Fernando: lo que la PGR le oculta a las familias (Proceso, 22 de agosto de 2015)

A 5 años de masacre de 72 migrantes en San Fernando, caso sigue impune: Amnistía Internacional (Animal Político, 22 de agosto de 2015)

Falta de justicia a cinco años de una masacre convierte a México en una ‘zona de riesgo’ para migrantes (Amnistía Internacional, 21 de agosto de 2015)

Denuncia Amnistía impunidad a cinco años de la masacre de San Fernando (Proceso, 21 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Four years after the massacre of San Fernando, “La 72” denounces new operations against migrants (2 September 2014)


Chiapas/National: 26 June, International Day of Support for Torture Victims

July 2, 2015

IMAGEN_STOP_TORTURA_PARA_COMPARTIR_EN_RRSS

(@Amnesty International)

On 26 June was celebrated the International Day of Support for Torture Victims, which this year was focused on the right to rehabilitation. The declarations and denunciations regarding torture have not ceased after the visit to Mexico by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who in his report stressed that “torture and abuses of the incarcerated on the part of the authorities in Mexico are generalized.” Many cases are not denounced due to fear of revenge, and principally they are the committed by municipal, state, and federal police, as well as ministerial agents and the military. “Torture and abuse take place during the first 24 to 48 hours of the arrest, and generally they end after the person is arraigned: the methods that are used include threats, insults, destruction of belongings, as well as beatings (usually involving hard objects), electrocution, water-boarding, violence, and sexual abuse.” Beyond this, he added that the disparity between the number of denunciations and testimonies received and the number of condemnations is a “worrying sign of impunity.” The Rapporteur declared he had been pressured to keep his report short, leading in turn to the accusation that the report was based on a small number of cases.

On the one hand, the National Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Mexico communicated that from 2001 to May 2015 it received 10,688 complaints regarding torture and other abuses (on average 2 a day). It affirms that in just over two years of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, it has received 2,119 denunciations, with the military being the most frequently accused force. It also poinst to the fact that the country has lacked a national registry to reflect the totality of the cases of torture and other abuses. The results it has available have been compiled by the CNDH, state human-rights commissions, and the denunciations that have been brought together.

Beyond this, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) declared that despite the fact that thirty years have passed since the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Sanction Torture, this practice persists in the region. Several commissions have expressed their concerns regarding the use of rape as a method of torture against women, the attempt to justify such actions with arguments based on threats to national security or the need to obtain information in investigations, or to prevent attacks. In this way, the IACHR has called on members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to investigate all denunciations of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Amnesty International also pronounced itself on the question, reporting that 64% of Mexicans fear being subjected to torture after arrest; this places Mexico as the second-highest country with this fear on the global scale. Beyond this, AI adds that 7,000 denunciations of torture have been made in the past 3 years, but only 7 cases sanctioned at the federal level. AI is organizing a graphical campaign against torture.

In observance of the day, a number of denunciations appeared in the media, including the charge that 40% of those arrested for the Ayotzinapa case have been subjected to torture and other abuses during their arrest, or the hunger strike undertaken by eight prisoners from different institutions in Mexico City to demand the cessation of prison abuse. In Chiapas, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced the torture of a Tzotzil couple as a means of forcing them to incriminate themselves in a murder case. The CDHFBC also organized a projection and conversation regarding torture in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where two experts on the question were present together with Silvia Domínguez, who gave testimony on the case of her brother Gabriel Domínguez, who died in police custody.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura y los malos tratos son generalizados en México, dice la ONU(CNN México, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Recibí presiones para minimizar mi informe sobre tortura’’: Méndez (La Jornada, 2 de abril de 2015)

En 14 años, 10 mil 688 quejas por tortura y otros tratos crueles(ContraLínea, 28 de junio de 2015)

Se deben indagar de oficio todas las denuncias de tortura: CIDH (CIMAC Noticias, 26 de junio de 2015)

Comienzan ocho reclusos huelga de hambre indefinida para denunciar tortura y extorsión (La Jornada, 29 de junio de 2015)

Torturados, la mitad de los procesados por caso Ayotzinapa: expertos del GIEGI (Proceso, 29 de junio de 2015)

Torturan a pareja tzotzil para que se inculpe de crimen, acusa el Frayba(Proceso, 29 de junio de 2015)

Cambiemos la historia #ALTOTORTURA (Amnistía Internacional)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: More than 500 cases of torture and 26 executions: Truth Commission (29 June 2015)

National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico” (15 September 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror” (3 July 2014)

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (16 May 2014)


Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case

February 5, 2015

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March for Ayotzinapa in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 14 November 2014

Photo @ SIPAZ archive

The Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has failed adequately to investigate the denunciations that have been made of the complicity of the armed forces and other authorities in the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, according to Erika Guevara Rosas, Regional Director of the Americas for Amnesty International, as she claimed in a press-conference on 22 January.  The Amnesty experts have criticized the inconsistencies in the investigations carried out by the PGR, whose head, Jesús Murillo Karam, declared on 21 January that his conclusion is that the 43 students have been killed, based on the identification of the remains of the student Alexander Mora Venancio among the evidence recovered at the waste-dump in Cocula, Guerrero.  On 22 January, relatives and friends of Alexander Mora marched through the streets of the Tecoanapa municipality to demand the presentation of the remains of the student.  José Félix Rosas Rodríguez, spokesperson of the Popular Movement of Guerrero (MPG) in Tecoanapa, said that “more than a month and a half on, they have not returned the remains of the student to his father, Ezequiel Mora Chona.”

On 20 January, Institute of Forensic Medicine at Innsbruck University announced that the scientific studies that were applied to the remains collected in Cocula–that is, which presumably belong to the disappeared students–establish that “the excessive heat has destroyed the DNA […] of the remains, such that to date, the routine methods that have been used have not produced a conclusive result.”  The Institute mentioned the possibility of using a new technology that could serve as a useful tool to continue examining the presumed remains of the disappeared students.  Without having consulted the relatives of the disappeared, the PGR requested that the Institute immediately carry out said studies.

The relatives and their counsel, Vidulfo Rosales, from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, have insisted that the investigation must include the role of the Army in the disappearances, and that the military barracks must be opened to search for evidence.  However, on 21 January, the search for the students in these barracks “has been suspended,” according to Rosales, who indicated that the agreement made with the Secretary of Governance, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, had been to “examine all the barracks, but now we are surprised that they are saying that only Iguala will be investigated.”  All the relevant police stations and jails have been investigated to date, but not Army installations.  Beyond this, “there is evidence” against the military, in light of the “defensive attitude taken by the federal government,” the lawyer added.

Four months after the disappearance of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, the parents of the disappeared have organized new mobilizations for 26 January at 10am, when four megamarches will be launched in Mexico City.

For more information (in Spanish):

Ayotzinapa: Amnistía Internacional acusa falta de investigación sobre la participación del ejército (Información SIDIDH, 22 de enero de 2015)

PGR falló en investigación sobre el caso Ayotzinapa: AI (Aristegui Noticias, 21 de enero de 2015)

Crece la rabia: que por lo menos investiguen al Ejército (Proceso, 18 de enero de 2015)

“Calor excesivo ha destruido el ADN” de presuntos restos de estudiantes de Ayotzinapa: Innsbruck (Aristegui Noticias, 21 de enero de 2015)


National: “To Defend Human Rights Is Necessary, Legitimate, and Dangerous” – Amnesty International

December 17, 2014

AI

On 9 December, day for human-rights defenders, Amnesty International (AI) presented the document “To Defend Human Rights Is Necessary, Legitimate, and Dangerous” regarding the work of human-rights observers and journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report notes that journalists and rights-defenders risk their lives and liberty to struggle for human rights, and continue to suffer from intimidation, assault, and other forms of violence.

The document stresses the “high levels of violence and repression” against those who work in questions having to do with the land, territory, and natural resources, as well as the rights of women and children, migrants, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans* and intersexual persons, in addition to journalists and trade-unionists who defend human rights.

“The saddening reality is that many of these persons who defend human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean suffer constant persecution and attacks as revenge for their efforts.  In different countries we have observed a disquieting and lamentable increase in the levels of violence and repressions suffered by these persons just for defending human rights and justice,” noted Erika Guevara Rosas, director of the American Program with AI.

For more information (in Spanish):

Defender Derechos Humanos en las Américs: Necesario, Legítimo y Peligroso, Amnestía Internacional, 9 de diciembre de 2014

Denuncia AI aumento de violencia contra defensores de Derechos Humanos en Latinoamerica, SDPNoticias, 9 de diciembre de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries for environmental defenders (12 June 2014)


Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz

October 1, 2014

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archivo)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archive)

In a press conference held on 23 September, federal legislators called on the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to stop the looming incarceration of Oaxacan rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez, who presently free faces accusations of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and national wealth.

It bears mentioning that on 22 February 2012, the defender was detained and incarcerated, accused of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and the national wealth, though she only participated in a protest a year previous opposing high electricity prices in Oaxaca.  On 24 February 2012 she posted bail and was released, but the legal process against her continues.

The legislators in question affirm that they “consider that the moves and process against Bettina represent acts of criminalization of social protest, illustrating the risky situations faced by persons who work to defend human rights.  Through this process, it has become clear that the justice system has deviated greatly against them, particularly those who work in defense of the land amidst the imposition of megaprojects.”

Beyond this, in a communique published on 25 September, Amnesty International (AI) warned that, if the judiciary power decided to imprison the rights-defender, it would “consider nominating her as a prisoner of conscience.”  AI stressed that the obligation of the Mexican authorities “is to guarantee that the justice system does not work in favor of the persecution of those who defend human rights, as revenge against their legitimate actions.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden legisladores a PGR evitar encarcelamiento de activista (Cimac Noticias, 23 de septiembre de 2014)

Carta completa de los legisladores (23 de septiembre de 2014)

No a la persecución judicial de las personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Amnistía Internacional, 25 de septiembre de 2014)

Campaña en twitter: etiqueta #JusticiaparaBettina

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Various denunciations in the Tehuantepec Isthmus from community assemblies organized against wind-farms in their territories (6 September 2014)

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (March 7, 2012)

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)


National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico”

September 15, 2014

(@Amnistía Internacional)

On 4 September, Amnesty International published a new report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico.”  The organization affirms that “torture and other abuses are out of control in Mexico.  In 2013, the number of denunciations (1505) increased 600 per cent with respect to 2003, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).  However, the real statistics may be well higher.”

Speakers at the public presentation of the report indicated that torture lives on due to the unwillingness of national authorities to admit that it exists, not only because it a structural part of the justice system, but also because to eradicate it would require the unmasking of high-ranking officials implicated in the practice.

Furthermore, with regard to the mechanisms designed to avoid this type of situation, Rupert Knox, an AI special investigator, noted that the CNDH “does not act in favor of victims,” and especially in terms of torture, it is “part of the problem and not the solution.”

The document covers a ten-year period during which the CNDH registered 7,164 complaints, with 275 in 2003 and 1,505 last year.  All these denunciations led to nothing more than 4 recommendations from the CNDH.  “If it is not recognized that there is a truly persistent and generalized problem here; if one speaks, as the subsecretary of Governance did, of only four cases from the CNDH and claims that they [the CNDH] has no greater mandate, it is easy for the government, and all is lost, because the CNDH does not mandate the needed mechanisms to receive complaints, quantify them, and later investigate them as they should be investigated,” Knox said in an interview with media.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura en México: 14 datos (Amnistía Internacional, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

“Fuera de control: Tortura y otros malos tratos en México” (Amnistía Internacional, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Peña debe comprometerse a abordar la cuestión de la tortura (Salil Shetty, Secretario General de Amnistía Internacional, CNN México, 5 de octubre de 2014)

CNDH, “parte del problema en casos de tortura”: Amnistía Internacional(Proceso, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Tortura, parte estructural del sistema judicial del país: ONG (LA Jornada, 7 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror” (3 July 2014)

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (1 January, 2014)