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)