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)


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)


National: Mexico, second-worst country in terms of impunity

April 24, 2015

Presentación IGI 2015 (@UDLAP)

IGI 2015 presentation (@UDLAP)

On April 20, the results of the 2015 Global Impunity Index (IGI) were presented, by the University of the Americas in Puebla (UDLAP).  The study’s authors concluded that Philippines, Mexico, Colombia, Turkey, and Russia are the worst countries in terms of impunity–in this order.  It should be stressed, nonetheless, that the analysis of official data regarding security, justice, and human rights was applied to only 59 countries, not the 193 member-nations of the United Nations, given that 134 lack the requisite systematic information.

The report establishes a series of recommendations: for example, the need to have more judges in the justice system (the index estimates an average of 17 judges per 100,000 citizens, while Mexico has only 4 per 100,000), or the fact that “it is not necessary to invest more resources to expand the number of police, but rather this should be focused on the effective guarantee of their actions,” especially when “a deficiency is seen in nearly half of the population arrested without charge (46%).”

For more information (in Spanish):

México ocupa el lugar 58 de 59 países en materia de impunidad (UDLAP, 20 de abril de 2015)

Alertan por niveles de impunidad en México (El Universal, 21 de abril de 2015)

México es el segundo país con mayor impunidad en el mundo, según informe(CNN México, 21 de abril de 2015)

La Impunidad en México (El País, 21 de abril de 2015)

México, el segundo país con más altos índices de impunidad (sólo debajo de Filipinas) (Animal Político, 20 de abril de 2015)

México, segundo lugar en Índice Global de Impunidad (La Jornada, 20 de abril de 2015)


National: Launch of initiative “Society responds” amidst the “crisis of impunity, corruption, and human-rights violations”

April 21, 2015

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On 26 March, a forum entitled “Society responds: Proposals to confront the crisis of impunity, corruption, and human-rights violations” was held in Mexico City.  The first part of the event was an open dialogue to characterize the situation experienced in the country, while the second focused on initiatives supported by more than 30 civil organizations.

“Civil society responds” is offered as “an initiative that seeks to intervene in public debate to establish a civil agenda amidst the crisis of impunity, corruption, and human-rights violations that include alternative proposals for legislative reform, institutional reconstruction, and concrete actions based in lessons learned and successful experiences from other countries that have passed through similar crises.”

Some of the proposals include “to strengthen the ministerial institutions that investigate grave human-rights violations, to overcome the obstacles inhibiting the observance of the International Convention for the Protection of All People against Forcible Disappearance, to guarantee the correct institution of the new penal-justice system, changing practices as well; to retire the armed forces from security tasks; to reformulate public policy to prevent, sanction, and eradicate gender violence, using specific strategies to deal with crimes committed by State agents; to approve the pending normative tasks in terms of transparency and protection of personal data; and to guarantee processes for transparent public institutions, among other measures.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Estas son las 20 propuestas de la sociedad civil contra la impunidad (Animal Político, 27 de marzo de 2015)

Menos queja y más propuesta… lanzan un sitio con ideas ciudadanas para ‘salvar’ a México (Animal Político, 26 de marzo de 2015)

Página Web: http://www.sociedadresponde.org/


Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and crime against humanity

April 10, 2015

20150205_164829Photo @SIPAZ

The first report from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), a branch of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), indicates that the forcible disappearance of the 43 students on 26 and 27 September 2014 in Iguala amounts to a crime against humanity.  The families of the youth and the organizations which accompany them welcomed this first conclusion from the GIEI.  They expressed that the primary recommendations, which call on the Mexican State to treat the case as a forcible disappearance, gives the hope that justice and truth will soon prevail.  Among the requests made by the Group, stress is placed on gaining access to a digital copy of the evidence that is available to the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), treating the case as a forcible disappearance, establishing a mechanism of medical attention for the relatives in the region, and urgently providing the comatose student Aldo Gutiérrez with a second neurological evaluation, beyond protecting the evidence that exists and continuing with the searches.

On 23 March, relatives of the students and representatives of civil organizations announced that the Mexican government lied to the IACHR during the audience on “Denunciations of forcible disappearance and impunity in Mexico.”  Manuel Olivares, director of the “José María Morelos y Pavón” Center for Human Rights, located in Chilapa, Guerrero, denounced that, contrary to what the State officials said, there existed no search protocol in the Ayotzinapa case, and that the demand for the presentation with live of the students has not been met, either.  “The response from the State is highly inadequate,” he concluded.

In other news, the report indicates that two units from the Reaction Force of the 27th Infantry Batallion, based in Iguala, were patrolling the streets from 11pm on 26 September until 6am the next day.  The soldiers saw the dead, invaded the hospitals in which the injured were found, and were fully knowledgeable of the gunfire and attacks.  On 27 September, the students were looking for their disappeared comrades in the streets, while others made reports to the Ministry of the Interior, but the report from the patrols provided by the 27th Batallion that day claims it to have been a day “without news.”  This information is contained within one of the documents provided to Proceso by the Secretary for National Defesne (SEDENA) in accordance with the Law on Transparency.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de normalistas saludan informe de expertos de CIDH, que acusa desaparición forzada (Centro Prodh, 20 de marzo de 2015)

Insatisfactorias, respuestas de Estado ante CIDH por desaparición forzada (Centro Prodh, 23 de marzo de 2015)

En manos del PJF, petición de la CIDH sobre desaparición forzada (La Jornada, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Ayotzinapa: sus propios informes comprometen al Ejército (Proceso, 21 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (6 de marzo de 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


Guerrero: Impunity one year after the murder of Rocío Mesino Mesino, OCSS leader

October 26, 2014

(@cencos.org)

(@cencos.org)

In an announcement, the National Network of Human-Rights Defenders in Mexico (RNDDHM) and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) recalled Rocio Mesino Mesino, the leader of the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS), who was murdered on 19 October 2013 in the Mexcaltepec community, Atoyac de Álvarez municipality, in Guerrero state.

The two organizations expressed their “indignation for the impunity which prevails in the murder of the defender.  One year after the fact, we have testified to the total lack of advance in investigations: to date, none of the material or intellectual authors of the murder have been judged, despite the existence of portraits that have been derived from the testimony of witnesses, and despite the fact that her family is disposed to assisting with the investigation.  The lack of serious, diligent, and impartial investigation has generated an even greater debt with OCSS, the Mesino family, and all human-rights defenders in Mexico, particularly those who live in Guerrero.”

The groups denounced “the threats and acts of harassment [seen] against relatives of the defender and members of her organization, which have kept them in constant danger and has inhibited the full exercise of the defense of human rights in the Costa Grande of Guerrero.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de OSC: Rocío Mesino, un año de impunidad (Ciudadanía Expres, 19 de otcubre de 2014)

Reclaman la impunidad en el crimen de la líder de Ocss (La Jornada de Guerrero, 20 de octubre de 2014)

Rocío Mesino: Un año de impunidad, tras su asesinato en Guerrero(VocesOaxaca, 20 de octubre de 2014)

Condenan defensores de derechos humanos la impunidad en el asesinato de Rocío Mesino (El Sur de Acalpulco, 20 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: murder of a social activist from the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: Murder of leader of the Organization of Ecologist Campesinos of the Sierra de Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán (7 December 2012)

Guerrero: two nephews of ecological leadership are murdered (16 November 2012)

Guerrero: Urgent Action for disappeared ecologists (8 February 2012)

Guerrero briefs: Two ecologists are kidnapped by armed men in the Sierra de Petatlán (14 December 2011)


Nationa: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico

May 16, 2014


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Upon completing his visit of 12 days to the country, Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishments, affirmed that torture is a “generalized phenomenon” in Mexico.  He recognized that the statistics on the prevalence of torture are on the decline, but he doubted that this in fact means that torture as practiced has similarly declined.  He located impunity and the regular use of torture as a “means of criminal investigation” as great problems in this sense.

In a press conference held on 2 May, Méndez presented the preliminary conclusions of his visit, stressing the numerous denunciations he received.  He also recognized progress on the question, for example on the use of military tribunals and a handful of the sentences handed down by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN).  He expressed his worry for the continued militarization of various regions of the country, in addition to the persistent participation of military commanders in civilian security forces.

As part of his preliminary recommendations, Méndez proposed a decrease in the resort to the use of “community control,” comprehensive reparations by those affected by torture, expeditious investigations into presumed human-rights violations, the standardization of torture at the national level with international standards, and the regulation of the use of legitimate public force.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura está “generalizada” en México: ONU (entrevista CNN México, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Generalizada en México, la tortura como medio de investigación: relator de la ONU (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2014)

Para erradicar la tortura hay que suprimir la idea de que es normal: relator de la ONU (La Jornada, 4 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado de organizaciones chiapanecas por visita del Relator Especial sobre la Tortura de la ONU (2 de mayo de 2014)

Presentarán a relator de la ONU 18 casos de tortura en Chiapas(Proceso, 28 de abril de 2014)

Informe sobre Tortura en Guerrero (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan)

Tortura, “práctica terriblemente cotidiana en México”, acusan ONG ante relator de la ONU (Proceso, 22 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Special rapporteur on torture begins visit to Mexico (29 April 2014)

National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico (10 June 2013)

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)


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