National: 20 NGOs criticize process to create General Law on Torture

September 13, 2015

(@ Amnistía Internacional)(@ Amnesty International)

On 31 August, twenty civil non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and institutions called on the federal government to incorporate international standards and the suggestions of experts in elaborating the General Law on Torture, which will be developed over the next six months. They criticized the consultative process to elaborate the General Law on Torture and demanded mechanisms to promote dialogue and the participation of interested groups, victims, and persons. In a letter directed to President Enrique Peña Nieto, the persons in question note that “in difficult times such as these in Mexico, the creation of a law that aspires to effective participation, eradication, and sanctioning of torture should be effected through a democratic process that involves the diverse voices that have demanded the creation of this normative mark in recent years.” The NGOs call on the government to take into account international standards and the recommendations made by experts on the question so that this reform promotes authentic transformation and not be limited to cosmetic changes that end up being insufficient for uprooting this practice, as through the fabrication of charges, the lack of serious investigations, and the damages imposed on victims and their families.

In whatever case, torture is a question of a practice that in Mexico has been consistently denounced by the NGOs, both domestic and international, and that has been used with impunity by public servants as a means of investigating crimes to obtain confessions or “punishing” those who have been arrested. Intervening on the question, Juan E. Méndez, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel and unusual punishments, expressed that torture in Mexico is generalized and takes place within a context of impunity. Méndez has recommended that Mexico “publicly recognize the dimension of impunity with regard to torture and abuses and send clear public messages to all security and justice officials, state and federal, that all tortures and abuses will be seriously investigated and punished, in accordance with international law, as well as constitutional and criminal statutes.” Another point that the NGOs made and that will be forwarded to the Congress of Deputies is that the General Law must take into account the perspectives of victims, limit military jurisdiction, break with the obstacles before the denunciations, and not allow the law to be limited merely to abstractions, but rather it must become a real tool.

For more information (in Spanish):

ONGs piden al Congreso las incluya en Ley contra Tortura y acate estándares internacionales (Sin Embargo, 03 de septiembre de 2015)

Critican 20 ONG el proceso para crear la ley general contra la tortura (La Jornada, 01 de septiembre de 2015)

La iniciativa de Ley General contra la Tortura deberá ser acorde con el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos (Desinformemonos, 19 de agosto de 2015)

Indispensable retomar aportes de OSC y personas expertas en la elaboración de la Ley General contra la Tortura (Amnistía Internacional, 12 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: Army and security forces involved in extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances: US State Department (21 July 2015)

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)

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National/International: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presents report about Mexico in Geneva

March 21, 2015

Juan E. Méndez, Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la Tortura (@Naciones Unidas)

Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (@UN)

On 9 March, Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading Treatment, presented the report based on his visit to Mexico between April and May 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.  In his conclusions, he mentions that “torture and ill-treatment of the incarcerated after their arrest and prior to their presentation to the justice system are generalized phenomena in Mexico which take place within the context of impunity.”  He added that there is evidence of the active participation of police and military forces, “but also tolerance, indifference, or complicity on the part of some doctors, public defenders, prosecutors, and judges.”  He indicated furthermore that torture is used “to punish the arrested and to extract confessions or incriminating information.”  He highlighted moreover that “the impunity of torture and other abuses is sufficient to lead to its repetition and exacerbation.”

For this reason, the Special Rapporteur recommended legislative reforms that would integrate international standards into domestic law, thus effectively preventing and punishing torture and other abuses, as well as to undertake the investigation of all denunciations that are presented, including “the tasks that remain in terms of the Dirty War.”  He recommended also that the dimension of the phenomenon be publicly recognized, and that all the authorities receive strong public pressure insisting that all abuses will be seriously investigated and punished.

Following the presentation of this report, Jorge Lomónaco, Mexican representative before international organizations, affirmed that “we cannot agree with the view that torture is generalized in the country, because that is not the case in reality.”  He added that what the Special Rapporteur claimed “does not reflect the enormous efforts that my country’s government has made to strengthen a culture of respect for human rights in the law and in practice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Ver Informe completo (Juan E. Méndez, diciembre de 2014)

Generalizada, la tortura en México (Proceso, 7 de marzo de 2015)

“Todos los cuerpos policiales torturan en el país” (El País, 9 de marzo de 2015)

México: entre la tortura y la impunidad (Centro PRODH, Animal Político, 9 de marzo de 2015)

La tortura es generalizada en México: relator de ONU; eso es mentira, responde embajador (Animal Político, 9 de marzo de 2015)

México y ONU ahora chocan por informe sobre la tortura (Milenio, 10 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)

Chiapas: release of indigenous prisoners and denunciation of torture in the state (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and killing of youth the responsibility of municipal police from Acala, CDHFBC denounces (18 March 2014)

Chiapas: Torture and kidnapping of youth Hiber Audentino García Villafuerte (1 January, 2014)


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)


National: Special Rapporteur on torture begins visit to Mexico

April 29, 2014

@ONU

@UN

Juan E. Méndez, the Argentinian UN Special Rapporteur, began a 12-day visit to Mexico on 21 April.

Rapporteur Méndez, who has held his position since 2010, plans to meet with hundreds of federal and state officials–ministers, soldiers, and magistrates–and to visit jails and migrant posts.  Beyond Mexico City, he will visit the states of Baja California, Chiapas, and Nuevo León.

The UN official will conclude his visit on 2 May with a press-conference in which he will share his conclusions and recommendations.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comienza hoy visita del relator especial de ONU sobre tortura (La Jornada, 21 de abril de 2014)

La tortura como “medio de investigacion” prevalece en México (Animal Político, 21 de abril de 2014)

Relator de la ONU sobre tortura comienza su visita a México; se reunirá con al menos 100 funcionarios
Relator de la ONU sobre tortura comienza su visita a México; se reunirá con al menos 100 funcionarios

Relator de la ONU sobre tortura comienza su visita a Mexico ; se reunirá con al menos 100 funcionarios (Sin Embargo, 21 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)