Mexico: Centro ProDH Presents Report: “Violence and Impunity, the Twin Faces of Mexico”

March 10, 2010

In early March, the Centro Prodh published a new report titled “A Society at Risk: Violence and Impunity, the Twin Faces of Mexico.” Given the cases of the past two years (including several that took place in Chiapas), several themes are broached: indigenous women before the justice system, the lack of civil control of the military, the importance of the global and Inter-American systems in demanding that the Mexican government comply with its human rights obligations, the violations of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights—specifically the policies concerning housing and forced evictions provoked at the interest of megaprojects—and the forms of action taken by the state against those who demand, promote and defend human rights.

The executive summary highlights: “In Mexico there is a climate of impunity observable within the justice system, in penitentiaries and in the cases of abuse, detention, harassment, torture and murder of human rights defenders. This is not a new situation, but it has increased with the growing militarization of the country under the pretext of the ‘fight against drug trafficking.’ With the participation of the military in public security there has been an increase in human rights violations; the impunity is reflected in the lack of repercussions for those responsible while violence continues to devastate several regions of the country. The report, ‘A Society at Risk: Violence and Impunity, the Twin Faces of Mexico,’ analyzes the human rights situation from the Centro Prodh’s fields of action in order to demonstrate governmental responsibility in the creation or maintenance of conditions that are currently threatening society.”

For More Information:

Index and introduction to the report

Executive summary of the report (Spanish)

Download the complete report in pdf (Spanish)

Mexico: The Mexican Republic rejects recommendations made by UPR

July 16, 2009
Universal Periodic Review: Mexico is reviewed - A country without human rights is not democratic

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): A country without human rights... is not a democracy

On February 2009, during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Mexico received various recommendations to advance human rights work. On June 11th of this year, Mexico responded to the recommendations during the sessions at the Council of Human Rights of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. This new report has been widely criticized by various Human Rights organizations in Mexico: in one communique on July 12th, organizations stated that Mexico has flagrantly rejected recommendations relative to military justice, the impunity and past crimes, the definition of organized delinquency, and the judicial figure of the pre-trial detention. The communique states other issues in which Mexico has shown impotence or lack of interest to comply as a Republic of justice: violence against women, femicide, and legislative justice.

In its defense, Mexico exposed a series of facts that were considered as advances. One of these was the constitutional reform in matter of human rights. Nevertheless, the so called reform does not give constitutional priority to human rights, and as a consequence it misses the opportunity to give international human rights treaties constitutional ranking.

With concern, the organizations signing the press release including the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco Victoria, the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, the Human Rights Center Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, and the Human Rights Center de la Montaña, Tlachinollan, conclude that “the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has given us an opportunity so the international and national communities can become aware that a great deficit in the topic of human rights exists. The recommendations made by the UPR are added to the great number of recommendations that the Mexican State has recieved in last eleven years. What we now need is political will and effective actions by the federal government and from the state governments to implement them in their entirety.”

For more information (spanish only):

More information from SIPAZ:

Atenco: The case of Atenco before the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation

February 9, 2009

Source. El Porvenir

Source: El Porvenir

On January 21 of this year Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) released the “Public version of the report evaluating the constitutional investigation carried out by a special committee in their report on 3/2006”. In this document they present the results of an investigation into the events that occurred in Texcoco and San Salvador Atenco, in Mexico State, on May 3 and 4. On February 9 the findings will be reviewed by the full court.

The investigation indicates that the police operation demonstrated “negligence and lack of professionalism” and that resulted in “abuses, cruel and inhumane treatment, the use of excessive force, rape, and torture”. It concludes that “it is necessary that in the discussion and the final conclusion it is established that very grave violations occurred including torture and sexual violations against women”. The Collective against Torture and Impunity in Mexico, the Human Rights Center Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez, and the Network of Rights for Everyone commented that the report “is a step towards justice for Atenco”, but that it lacked the clear conclusion that there was “torture and sexual violations of women”.

Only days after the publication of the provisional report, Amnesty International (AI) stated that “the investigation carried out by the Supreme Court brings to light a long list of human rights violations that have remained un-addressed” and that it is “essential” that the highest Mexican court “decide on a positive resolution, based on international statutes signed by Mexico”. It also asked the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) to support the report written by the investigative commission into the abuses committed in the police operation so that impunity could be stopped.

The police operation, in which more that 4 thousand members of the Department of Federal Public Security (SSPF) and the Agency of State Security of the State of Mexico (ASEEM) participated, left of toll of 207 detained, two youths killed, and around 50 women who suffered violations, sexual abuse, torture, and illegal searches.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Versión pública del dictamen que valora la investigación constitucional realizada por la comisión designada en el expediente 3/2006, Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (21/01/2009)

Atenco y la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, La Jornada (24/01/2009)

Las agresiones en Atenco, alentadas por superiores: dictamen de la Corte, La Jornada (29/01/2009)

Difunde Corte dictamen sobre caso Atenco, El Universal (03/02/2009)

México: La Corte Suprema debe apoyar el informe sobre Atenco y abrir la puerta a la justicia, Amnistía Internacional (06/02/2009)

Ante la discusión del dictamen sobre Atenco de la SCJN: Justicia o impunidad: Comisión Civil Internacional de Observación por los Derechos Humanos, Boletín 38 (07/02/2009)

Pide Amnistía Internacional a la Corte respaldar el informe sobre el caso Atenco, La Jornada (07/02/2009)

Pide América del Valle a los ministros no prolongar injusticia e impunidad en Atenco, La Jornada (09/02/2009)

El proyecto de la Corte sobre Atenco puede otorgar impunidad a funcionarios, La Jornada (09/02/2009)

Mexico/US: Merida Inititative. Interviews and reporting from SIPAZ

August 20, 2008

[Source: Amnesty International USA]

SIPAZ recently conducted an interview with Luis Arriaga Valenzuela, director of the Agustín Juarez Pro Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh) in Mexico City, on the topic of human rights with regard to the Merida Initiative. He spoke at length on Centro Prodh’s belief that the subject of human rights should be “a core theme” within the Merida Initiative negotiations. However, Arriaga stated that there is indeed a lack of human rights language in the plan. Centro Prodh’s stance is that there should be included the “creation of a mechanism between government authorities and the civil society, including NGO’s that specialize in human rights, in order to implement the Merida Initiative with higher standards of protection” for fundamental guarantees.

Arriaga pointed out the findings in a recent study published by Centro Prodh on human rights violations perpetrated by military personnel. One disturbing discovery uncovered in the report is the statistic that shows that the majority of the victims of human rights violations due to military actions were women and minors. He stated the importance of trying military personnel in civil courts as opposed to military tribunals, where civilian victims have little or no access to justice. Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico: “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime.” Statement from Edgar Cortez (Red TDT)

August 19, 2008

Edgar Cortez presents the “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” campaign at Centro Prodh

Edgar Cortez, Executive Secretary of the National Network of Civil Organizations for Human Rights ‘All Rights for All’ (Red TDT, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos), spoke on the organization’s national campaign “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” at the First National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Family Members of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience which took place July 24 through 26 in Mexico City.

The introduction to his comments touched on the poverty in Mexico as well as the lack of human rights vigilance stating that “there is not only an economic inequality, but rather this inequality is translated into an inequality of the possibility of enjoying all of one’s rights.” His remarks revolved around the recent constitutional reforms of the Mexican judicial system which were approved on June 18 of this year. While Cortez admits that there are some good changes made in the reform, the definition of “organized crime” has been extended so broadly that it may very well be applied to social protest and social activists. His presentation refers to the fact that “the full weight of the law” is used against social protest without evidence or the guarantee of due process.” The presentation also claims that “in Mexico, rights are used to ‘mistreat those they should care for, persecute those they should protect, ignore those they should pay more attention to and serve those they should control.’”

Read the rest of this entry »

Guerrero: Tlachinollan presents a video documentary on repression in the state

August 19, 2008

Opposition to the hydroelectric project La Parota [Source: CDHM Tlachinollan]

At the First National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Family Members of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience which took place July 24 through 26 in Mexico City, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña (CDHM Tlachinollan) presented a new video documentary on the most recent cases of state repression in Guerrero.

Four cases are presented in the video:

– A confrontation between riot police and campesinos in opposition to the hydroelectric project La Parota.

– The violent eviction of students and graduates of the Normal Rural School “Raúl Isidro Burgos” in Ayotzinapa outside of the State Congress of Guerrero in the capital of Chilpancingo (November 14, 2007).

– The harrassment and incarceration of members of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM) in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres.

– An attempt by police forces and the Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) to dismantle Radio Ñomndaa in Xochistlahuaca (July 10, 2008).

To view the video (in Spanish), click on the link below:

Guerrero: El CDHM Tlachinollan presenta video sobre la represion en el estado (SIPAZ, 12/08/08)

More information:

Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña website

Mexico: Conclusion of the First National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Family Members of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience

August 19, 2008

From July 24 to 26, 2008 the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh, Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez) in conjunction with the Solidarity Network “A Decade Against Impunity (Red Solidaria “Década Contra la Impunidad”), the Iberoamerican University (Universidad Iberoamericana) and the Ecclesiastical Observatory (Observatorio Eclesial) held a collaborative meeting of human rights defenders and relatives of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Mexico City.

Various social and human rights organizations from several different regions in Mexico as well as internationals such as SIPAZ, participated in the event. The objective of the meeting was “To create a space for reflexion and análisis in order to design strategies within the context of the criminalization human rights defenders in social protest and in cases of political prisoners and prisoner of conscience.”

Click below to see this post in Spanish and video of the press conference held at Centro Prodh following the meeting.

México: Se concluye el Primer Encuentro Nacional de Defensores/as de Derechos Humanos y Familiares de Presos/as Políticos y de Conciencia (SIPAZ, 28/06/08)