Guerrero: Parents reject PGR declaration; organizations express concern for disqualification of defenders from Guerrero; HRW considers Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa to be “State crimes”

November 13, 2014


March in solidarity with Ayotzinapa in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 22 October (photo @SIPAZ)

At a press-conference on 7 November, Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reported that the 43 disappeared normalist students from Ayotzinapa were presumed to have been incinerated and their remains thrown into the Cocula river, in accordance with information provided by three members of the “United Warriors” drug cartel.  The remains that have been found will be sent to an Austrian university for a process that will take some time, for, given “their high grade of decomposition, it will be difficult to extract DNA for identification,” argued Murillo Karam.  “We do not accept” the PGR’s conclusions, as it “is attempting to close the case” of the 43 disappeared students, claimed a parent of one of the students, who insisted that “our sons are still alive.”  “Today they want to surprise us saying that they made ashes of our children, so that we could not recognize them,” observed another.  The parents claimed that the intention of this information was to “allow President Enrique Peña Nieto to go on tour and say that everything has been resolved.”  On 9 November, Peña Nieto began a trip to China and Asia, where he will participate in the meeting of the Forum for Asia-Pacific Cooperation and also attend the G-2o summit.

Beyond this, organizations that have followed the fate of the Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists expressed their concern for the declarations and information that come out in recent days against members of the social organizations who work in Guerrero state.  Their concern was directed in particular against the accusation of the interim governor Rogelio Ortega Martínez, who called into question the work of the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, and against the report of the Mexican intelligence report that was leaked by media, which accuses the technical secretary of the Guerrero Network of having ties with a guerrilla group.  In a document signed by dozens of human-rights organizations, they note that “the recent declarations by the governor […] are immensely worrying, since, amidst this human-rights crisis, he calls on the director of Tlachinollan to join the state government.  It should be stressed that both the José María Morelos Pavón Regional Center as well as Tlachinollan form a part of the ‘All Rights for All’ National Network of Civil Human-Rights Organizations, and are organizations that have been recognized for their dedication to the strengthening of social leaders that are so lacking in the region, as for their juridical defense in cases of serious human-rights violations.”

In a press-conference, José Miguel Vivanco, representative of Human Rights Watch (HRW), claimed the disappearance of the 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa as well as the murder of 22 persons in Tlatlaya, Mexico state, to have “dragged” the name of Peña Nieto and his government “through the mud” in the international arena.  He mentioned that the federal executive had wanted to show the world a “Mexico that is fictitious,” and that he withdrew from considering questions of human rights and security, holding them to be “toxic” for his international image.  The HRW representative stressed that both cases are “crimes of State” to which the judicial authorities have reacted tardily and inefficiently.  The extrajudicial execution of at least 12 people at Tlatlaya by Army units and the forcible disappearance of the 43 normalist students from Ayotzinapa must be included within the “gravest” cases of violence “in the contemporary history of Mexico and Latin America in recent years.”  He added, however, that these are not isolated events, but rather form part of an atmosphere of impunity and corruption.

For more information (in Spanish):

“No aceptamos” la hipótesis del asesinato de los normalistas, sostienen padres de desaparecidos (Desinformémonos, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

La desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa pudo evitarse, dice el Frayba (La Jornada de Guerrero, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

Video: Los quemaron 15 horas, con leña, diesel, llantas, plástico.- PGR(Aristegui Noticias, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

Desaparición de normalistas deja “por los suelos” imagen del gobierno, a nivel internacional: HRW (Aristegui Noticias, 7 de noviembre de 2014)

Comienza Peña Nieto su gira de trabajo en China y Australia (Milenio, 9 de noviembre de 2014)

Inaceptable la postura del gobernador y la del gobierno federal, dicen defensores (La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Update in the Ayotzinapa case (12 November 2014)

Guerrero: Update in the Iguala case: former Iguala mayor is arrested; governor of Guerrero resigns; European Parliament divided over Ayotzinapa (3 November 2014)

Guerrero: municipal police of Iguala fire on students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. Six have died (11 October 2014)

National: Strong criticisms of Enrique Peña Nieto’s first year in office

December 8, 2013


Enrique Peña Nieto. photo @enelareachica

On 27 November, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) indicated  that during the first year of Enrique Peña Nieto’s term in office, there have been seen very few advances in terms of security and human rights, and that a great number of violations have taken place against fundamental rights that go completely unpunished.  On 26 November, Human Rights Watch announced by means of a public letter that the change in administration has been ultimately rhetorical and that the government “has not demonstrated significant advances in the investigation of past abuses of power, and new grave human-rights violations continue without redress.”

Human Rights Watch has identified cases that demonstrate that soldiers and police continue to commit serious abuses under Peña Nieto’s watch.  The open letter mentions the example of the “murder of three campesino leaders in Guerrero, who were found on 3 June, after having been taken against their will together with 5 others on 30 May.  The previous day, members of the social movement to which they belong had presented a formal denunciation before the authorities expressing their fear that the mayor and the chief of police might well have ordered the murders.”  The WOLA collective emphasized that the declarations of the government and good intentions have not resulted in concrete actions to date.  “Until there are more advances to combat the impunity which prevails in Mexico, the discourse of the government on human rights will continue to be little more than pretty words.”

For more information (in Spanish):

México: el decepcionante primer año de Peña Nieto (Human Rights Watch, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

Peña Nieto aplica la misma táctica de seguridad de Calderón: WOLA (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Insufficient attention from EPN to human rights (20 March 2013)

National: Polemical ascension to power of EPN ( 7 December 2013)

Mexico: “Neither security nor rights: executions and torture in the war on drug-trafficking in Mexico”

November 26, 2011

Some days ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a new report entitled “Neither security nor rights: executions and torture in the war on drug-trafficking in Mexico,” which indicates that members of the armed forces “have participated in more than 170 cases of torture, 39 disappearances, and 24 extrajudicial executions since the time in which Felipe Calderón became president in December 2006.”  The report is the fruit of two years of investigations in five of the most violent states of the country: Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nuevo León, and Tabasco.  For its publication, more than 200 interviews were carried with a broad spectrum of governmental functionaries, members of the security forces, victims, witnesses, human-rights defenders, and other actors.  Official statistics were also analyzed, data was obtained through public-information requests, and evidence was examined, as were legal processes and denunciations of human-rights violations.

In its press-release, the organization stresses that “In light of this analysis, Human Rights Watch came to observe that there exists a policy of public security that seriously fails in two aspects.  It has not only failed in reducing levels of violence, but it has also generated a drastic increase in the number of human-rights violations which are almost never adequately investigated.  This is to say that in place of strengthening public security in Mexico, the ‘war’ launched by Calderón has succeeded in exacerbating a climate of violence, lack of control, and fear in many parts of the country.”

The HRW report stresses that if the incidence of human-rights violations has increased drastically within the context of the war on drugs, the same has not occurred with the investigation and judging of these affairs, given that of the 997 open investigations on the part of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) into murders related to organized crime between 2007 and August 2011, federal judges have condemned only 22 for homicide and other crimes related to organized crime.  Furthermore, of the 89 previously open PGR investigations into torture from 1994 to June 2010, only two people have been condemned, a tendency that reveals the profundity of the problem and the fact that judicial investigations are much lacking in the country.

The HRW report has found common cause with deputies, senators, and leaders of political parties.  On 8 November, José Miguel Vivanco, representative of HRW, met with President Calderón, who told him once again that “Mexico is not at war,” that the campaign against organized criminals is being carried out “with the strict observance of the law” and that the principal threat for human rights continues to be criminal elements.

For more information (in Spanish):

Torpeza de Calderón, descalificar el informe de HRW: legisladores (La Jornada, 11 November)

El legado de Calderón (Milenio, ‎11 November 2011)

Informe de HRW divide a legisladores (Milenio, ‎11 November 2011)

Lamentan PRI y Verde en Congreso visión de HRW sobre la lucha contra el narco (Milenio, ‎10 November 2011)

PAN discrepa con informe de Human Right Watch (El Universal, 10 November 2011)

“No estamos en guerra”, precisa gobierno a HWR (Milenio, ‎10 November 2011)

HRW: Guerra de Calderón detonó violencia y abusos (El Universal, 10 November 2011‎)

Respalda Episcopado estrategia calderonista contra el crimen (La Jornada, 10 November 2011‎)

Documenta HRW el fracaso de la guerra anticrimen de Calderón (La Jornada, 10 November)

Ven fallas en labor de defensores de derechos (El Universal, 10 November)

HRW presenta hoy informe sobre derechos humanos (El Universal, 9 November)

Documenta HRW a PGR 24 ejecuciones extrajudiciales (La Jornada, ‎9 November)

Es crimen quien viola derechos: Calderón a HRW (El Universal, 9 November 2011‎)

“Ni seguridad, ni derechos: Ejecuciones, desapariciones y tortura en la guerra contra el narcotráfico en México” (complete HRW report, November 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Mexico undergoes the Universal Periodic Review (13 February 2009)

Mexico: Mexico undergoes the Universal Periodic Review

February 13, 2009

On February 10, for the first time, Mexico underwent the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) in Geneva. The UPR is a mechanism of the UN whose objective is to examine the achievement of human rights agreements and obligations in each member State. The critics of the presentation given by the Mexican government have been many and vocal. Jose Luis Soberanes, the Mexican ombudsman, stated that “the issues have been badly presented” and the results “have been manipulated”. He also expressed that in Mexico “the problem that we have is that what is resolved in the international bodies, such as the Human Rights Council, later is not implemented. There is a gap between what happens in the international bodies and what happens internally”.

The government stated in its report the proposal to withdraw the military from the fight against organized crime in the long term and support the establishment of a National Program of Human Rights. This plan has been questioned by organizations for being proposed solely for the UPR and without the intention of actually implementing it.

In addition two other reports were presented: the first compiled by agencies of the UN and the other by NGOs. While the Mexican state presented its report, the Mexican and international NGOs were allowed to be present but were not allowed to talk.

The report of the organizations from civil society, which was presented in September of 2008, showed a different reality with regard to human rights in Mexico. It criticized that the militarization and the fight against organized crime has focused entirely on questions of security and has sacrificed respect for human rights. It stressed that criminalization of social protest continues along with aggression and hostility towards human rights defenders, violations of fundamental guarantees by the military, feminicide, torture, and arbitrary detentions.

International organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch strongly emphasized problems of impunity in Mexico. They pointed to “the hundreds of homicides and the 700 forced disappearances which took place between the 1960s and 1980s” and that it still continues by not giving sentences according to the facts in San Salvador Atenco and in Oaxaca in the last few years. “The agents of the federal, state, and municipal police of Mexico are implicated in grave human rights violations; such as torture, violations, and homicide, especially the actions committed during the civil disturbances in San Salvador Atenco and the City of Oaxaca in 2006, which have still not been brought to justice”.

Friday, February 13, the countries carrying out the review on February 10, South Africa, Pakistan, and Nicaragua, will present their report to the public. The government of Mexico will show in the document if it accepts, rejects, or waits to decide on the criticisms and proposals which the Council formulated in the session on Tuesday.

More Information:

Highlights of the Univeral Periodic Review of Mexico – UNHCHR (10/02/09)

Reports by the Government, Civil Society, and the UN- UNHCHR

Press Release by the Human Rights Center PRODH on the UPR (10/02/09)

More Information in Spanish:

ONG mexicanas ante el Examen Periódico Universal de México, Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos (10/02/2009)

Article 19 coincide con el Consejo de Derechos Humanos sobre las agresiones a periodistas en México (10/02/2009)

Acusan ONG ante la ONU impunidad en la violación a DH en México, La Jornada (07/02/2009)