National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico”

September 15, 2014

(@Amnistía Internacional)

On 4 September, Amnesty International published a new report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico.”  The organization affirms that “torture and other abuses are out of control in Mexico.  In 2013, the number of denunciations (1505) increased 600 per cent with respect to 2003, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).  However, the real statistics may be well higher.”

Speakers at the public presentation of the report indicated that torture lives on due to the unwillingness of national authorities to admit that it exists, not only because it a structural part of the justice system, but also because to eradicate it would require the unmasking of high-ranking officials implicated in the practice.

Furthermore, with regard to the mechanisms designed to avoid this type of situation, Rupert Knox, an AI special investigator, noted that the CNDH “does not act in favor of victims,” and especially in terms of torture, it is “part of the problem and not the solution.”

The document covers a ten-year period during which the CNDH registered 7,164 complaints, with 275 in 2003 and 1,505 last year.  All these denunciations led to nothing more than 4 recommendations from the CNDH.  “If it is not recognized that there is a truly persistent and generalized problem here; if one speaks, as the subsecretary of Governance did, of only four cases from the CNDH and claims that they [the CNDH] has no greater mandate, it is easy for the government, and all is lost, because the CNDH does not mandate the needed mechanisms to receive complaints, quantify them, and later investigate them as they should be investigated,” Knox said in an interview with media.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura en México: 14 datos (Amnistía Internacional, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

“Fuera de control: Tortura y otros malos tratos en México” (Amnistía Internacional, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Peña debe comprometerse a abordar la cuestión de la tortura (Salil Shetty, Secretario General de Amnistía Internacional, CNN México, 5 de octubre de 2014)

CNDH, “parte del problema en casos de tortura”: Amnistía Internacional(Proceso, 4 de septiembre de 2014)

Tortura, parte estructural del sistema judicial del país: ONG (LA Jornada, 7 de septiembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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)

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National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico

October 19, 2012

On 11 October, Amnesty International (AI) presented its sixth report regarding the use of torture in Mexico, entitled “Known criminals, ignored victims: torture and abuse in Mexico.”

In a press-conference, Alberto Herrera, director of AI Mexico, affirmed that torture in Mexico is a “systematic and generalized” practice, that it has increased “scandalously” due to the so-called war on organized crime as launched by Felipe Calderón and the total impunity enjoyed by those who prosecute it.

Herrera indicated that “the majority of [cases] are not ever investigated in an exhaustive manner, and those responsible are almost never handed over to the courts; for this reason, the victims do not have the possibility of obtaining recognition or compensation.”  He affirmed that “it is incredibly difficult to determine the true magnitude and extensiveness of torture and other abuses in Mexico.  This difficulty has to do in part with the weak system of denunciation and investigation, which basically never takes account of those responsible, leaving victims and witnesses exposed to suffer reprisals.  One consequence of this is that there are far fewer cases than there should be.”

He noted that the lack of precise registration of this phenomenon has resulted in the fact that between 2008 and 2011 the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) said it had 58 preliminary investigations into torture and 4 cases with formal accusations, while the Council of the Federal Judiciary registered 12 processes and 5 condemnatory sentences.  The National Institute for Statistics and Geography claimed it had no news of any sentence at all.

In its report, AI puts forth more than 40 recommendations to the Mexican State, among which it stresses the harmonization of internal legislation regarding torture with those of international accords, the establishment of a base of data on this phenomenon, the exhaustive investigation of public officials implicated in this crime, the rejection of evidence obtained through torture, and the restriction of military tribunals so that all abuses committed against civilians by soldiers be analyzed by civil courts.

For its part, the Federal Government said it would analyze the AI report.  In a joint communique, the Ministries for Governance and External Affairs indicated that they maintain a policy of punctual observance of their international obligations in this matter.  The communique announces that the departments will present a report regarding the observance of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment (signed by Mexico in 1986) on 31 October and 1 November at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in which it will highlight progress in the struggle against torture and challenges in these terms.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de prensa de AI (AI, 11 de octubre de 2012)

Bajar informe: Culpables conocidos, víctimas ignoradas: Tortura y maltrato en México

Aumentan tortura y desapariciones forzadas en el país: AI (Proceso, 11 de octubre de 2012)

Niveles escandalosos de tortura durante el sexenio de Calderón: AI (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2012)

Analizará Gobierno Federal informe de AI sobre tortura en México: SG y SRE (La Jornada, 12 de octubre de 2012)

México sí combate tortura responde gobierno a AI (El Universal, 12 de octubre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: International judges report on conclusions of the observation of state of justice in Mexico (12 October 2012)

Chiapas: Presentation of report on torture in Chiapas “From Cruelty to Cynicism” (2 July 2012)

The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)