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

July 21, 2015

usdos-logo-seal

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)


Lacking budget and political will, the Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chiapas could prove illusory

June 29, 2015

© SIPAZ  Protesta de las niñas y niños (septiembre 2014)

© SIPAZ Children’s protest (September 2014)

Civil-society organizations that comprise the National Front for the Rights of Childen and Adolescents expressed their concern regarding the implementation of the Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chiapas (LDNNACH), which was approved on June 2. These organizations write that “Though this Law may signify a great advance against backwardness, we believe it to be basic for it be supported with investment and the political support of the State Executive, the Congress, and the local municipalities, which must develop and construct a normative, institutional, and political state of law that is capable of guaranteeing the effective exercise of the rights of children and adolescents in Chiapas.”

These organizations expressed their worries regarding the limitations of the Law in terms of “inverting the grave situation of rights-violations of the nearly 2 million children and adolescents who live in the state, 84% of whom live in poverty, and 1 in three of whom speak some indigenous language. Chiapas is an entry point for hundreds of Central American children who are fleeing violence in their countries, such that we demand respect for the highest international human-rights standards to promote the active participation of civil society in the processes of legal and institutional regulation.”

The organizations insist on the importance of the point that the Prosecutorial Office for the Protection of the Rights of Children, Adolescents, and the Family be part of a higher institution, and not to lack the necessary elements for the special protection of children in the interests of social welfare.

The communique adds that, “With special concern we see that [the State] omitted to establish the responsibility and obligation of the State to assign resources to guarantee the right to food, housing, health,and education for children and adolescents who have been orphaned, or attended to by Centers for Social Assistance, thus placing the responsibilities for their caretaking on civil-society organizations.”

The organizations also warned that “migrant children and adolescents and refugee minors will continue to go without protection from arbitrary arrest and deportation.”

For these reasons, the organizations called on “the corresponding authorities to respond to their obligations to observe the rights set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and not to legislate under the mandate of the LGDNNA, but instead to guarantee the informed and effective participation of children and adolescents in the decision-making processes which affect their immediate and future surroundings, and to generate broad, transparent, and inclusive mechanisms.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Sin presupuesto ni voluntad política, Ley de Derechos de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes en Chiapas podría quedar en letra muerta, chiapasparalelo, 11 de junio de 2015

En riesgo Ley de derechos de niñas, niños y adolescentes en Chiapas, Regeneracion, 20 de mayo de 2015

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents (1 October 2014)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


Chiapas: Presentation of “Infancy Counts 2014” report in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

April 23, 2015


melel
On 7 April, one of the events organized by the Network for the Freedom of Expression was held in observance of the presentation of the 2014 World Press Photo exhibition in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  On this occasion, civil organizations that work with children and adolescents spoke about the “Infancy Counts in Mexico 2014” report.  Emphasis was placed on the new Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents that was approved in December 2014 at the federal level and will be implemented in Chiapas before 6 June.  The objective of the event was to generate reflections that would allow for the optimization of the institution of the new law in the state, with special attention placed on the importance of the participation of civil society (organizations and those directly interested, that is to say, children and adolescents themselves).

(@Melel Xojobal)

(@Melel Xojobal)

The different talks included diagnostics regarding the situation faced by this population that continue to be critical: Chiapas still occupies one of the last places in terms of the observance of children’s rights, particularly in terms of those children and adolescents who find themselves in conditions of greatest vulnerability, such as the indigenous, migrants, and those with disabilities.  On the panel spoke Jennifer Haza (Melel Xojobal), Cinthia Velasco (a Tseltal youth worker and student), Juan Martín Pérez (from the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico, REDIM), Katia Lozaga (UNICEF), the governmental representative Ana Valdiviezo, and Nikté Nandayapa (Save the Children).

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de las organizaciones participantes (7 de abril de 2015)

La importancia del Informe “La Infancia cuenta 2014”, en la construcción de la nueva Ley de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes en el estado de Chiapas (Voces Mesoamericanas, 8 de abril de 2015)

Sociedad Civil, contrapeso para nueva Ley de Derechos de niñas, niños y adolescentes de Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 10 de abril de 2015)

Proponen sumar a ONG en elaboración de ley de niños en Chiapas (Diario Contrapoder, 9 de abril de 2015)

Buscan reformar Ley del Derecho de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes en Chiapas(sie7e de Chiapas, 8 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Entry into law of bill on the rights of children and adolescents (29 December 2014)

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents (1 October 2014)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


National: Entry into law of bill on the rights of children and adolescents

December 29, 2014

(@elconstituyente.com)

On 3 December, President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) signed into law the new bill on the rights of minors that was shortly thereafter published in the Official Diary of the Federation (DOF).  Peña Nieto affirmed that it would represent “a legal instrument for progress to create the appropriate conditions for the comprehensive development of minors.”

In a press-bulletin, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Mexico stressed “the creation at the highest level of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, of the Federal Prosecutorial Office for Protection, and of the National System for Information on Infancy, as well as the obligation of assigning an adequate budget to observe the implementation of the law, among other things.”

UNICEF considered the consolidation of a legal mark that would provide greater protection to the 40 million children and adolescents who live in Mexico a great opportunity.  Nonetheless, it stressed the following challenges faced by minors in the country:

“• Slightly more than half of children and adolescents in Mexico (21 million) lived in poverty in 2012; of these, 5 million suffered extreme poverty.

• There are still 6.1 million children between 3 and 17 years of age who do not attend school, despite the fact that attendance in basic and middle-school education has increased.  Child mortality (defined as applying to those under 5 years of age, per 1,000 children born) is still high in states like Guerrero (19.4), Chiapas (19.5), Puebla (19.7), and Oaxaca (20), despite the fact that the national rate has declined considerably (from 41 in 1990 to 16 in 2012).

• Six of each 10 children and adolescents have directly experienced some form of violence in their homes or schools.

• In 2013 15,561 unaccompanied children and adolescents were deported from the United States to Mexico.  These migrants have been exposed to all types of dangers and human-rights violations.

• 2.5 million children and adolescents work, despite efforts in recent years to reduce the rate of child labor.”

UNICEF stresses that “This law will be transcendental for the future and present of children in the country, and for this reason for development in Mexico with regard to social and economic questions, as well as matters related to justice, such that the next step will consist in assuring the adequate implementation of the law and guaranteeing that new mechanisms and institutions stipulated by this law will have the means to operate in an efficient manner.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El presidente Peña promulga la nueva ley sobre derechos de los menores(CNN México, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Promulga EPN Ley de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes, fundamental para progreso y paz social (Radio Fórmula, 3 de diciembre de 2014)

Promulga Peña la ley de niños y adolescentes (El Universal, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

Más de 40 millones de niños podrán contar con un mejor marco legal(Boletín de prensa, UNICEF, 4 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/National: Mobilization #x1heightlaw in favor of the human rights of children and adolescents (1 October 2014)

National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day (16 May 2014)

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


National/Chiapas: “little to celebrate” for Children’s Day

May 16, 2014

@Agencia Cuartoscuro

@Agencia Cuartoscuro

Since 1924, 30 April has been celebrated as International Children’s Day.  In theory, the day was established to promote the rights of children.  However, the date has now become a “political festival of balloons and clowns,” as the daily newspaper El Universal charged, while Chiapas Paralelo indicated the “proselytism” of politicians who take advantage of the organized events to take pictures with children.  El Universal also mentioned the absurdity of inverting in toys and spectacles “more than in solutions to protect those who are being celebrated.”

Certainly, little can be celebrated, as these media and others have stressed: Mexico is one of the 30 countries in which children suffer conditions of slavery.  Beyond this, more than half of all children (20 million) live in poverty, with 10% of them residing in Chiapas.  The statistics regarding children in this state are equally alarming in terms of education, access to health services, and nutrition, among other things.  Melel Xojobal A.C. noted for its part that “the country has very little to celebrate when more than a half of its children and adolescents live in conditions of poverty, exclusion, and violence.”  The group observed for example that in Chiapas more than 21,000 minors live in the streets, that the state has the lowest percentage of school attendance in the country, that it has a rate of child labor higher than the national average, and that more than half of the children of the Highlands region suffer from malnutrition.

For more information (in Spanish):

Proselitismo con juguetes y despensas, en el marco del Día del Niño y la Niña (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Más de dos millones de niños, niñas y adolescentes en pobreza y exclusión en Chiapas: Melel Xojobal (Chiapas Paralelo, 1 de mayo de 2014)

Día del Niño… o de los políticos? (El Universal, 30 de abril de 2014)

Día del niño con mucho que trabajar (Cuarto Poder, 30 de abril de 2014)

Día del niño, detrás de una sonrisa inocente está la pobreza y la desigualdad (Crónica de los Altos, 30 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Forum on “The rights of childhood and adolescence in southeastern Mexico” (15 March 2014)


National/Guerrero: Forum regarding discussion of human rights of agricultural day laborers within the Senate

July 19, 2013

130621_INVITACION_Foro_Jornaleros_SenadoOn 27 June, there was held a Forum to discuss the human rights of agricultural day laborers within the Senate.  At this event, there was presented the Report of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (Guerrero), “Migrants we are, and on the path we travel.”

Abel Barrera Hernández, director of Tlachinollan, denounced that “when in Mexico the situation of migrants is discussed, these are immediately associated with the oppressive conditions confronted by Central American peoples who transit through Mexico, or even the struggle of our compatriots in United States […].  But the systematic violation of the human rights of the thousands of indigenous families who year after year migrate to the large agricultural camps of the northern states of Mexico to survive oscillates between invisibility and indifference.”  It should be mentioned that close to 26% of the Mexican population is migrant and that, of these, 9 of 10 are internal migrants.

In this sense, the region of the Mountain in Guerrero projects labor to 16 other states of the country.  Abel Barrera indicates that “within the context of marginalization and poverty, migration to agricultural camps has been converted to a strategy of survival which entire towns turn to: the dilemma is to migrate or to die, given that campesinos have no access to healthcare, live in deplorable conditions (such as abandoned homes or semi-constructed buildings), where between 50 and 100 people come to live, with the presence of child laborers prevailing.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Migrar o morir, dilema que enfrentan en La Montaña, expone Tlachinollan en foro (La Jornada de Guerrero, 28 de junio de 2013)

Cuestionan eficacia de apoyos a jornaleros (Reforma, 28 de junio de 2013)