with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
MEXICO COUNTRY VISIT – April 21 – May 2, 2014

MEXICO COUNTRY VISIT – April 21 – May 2, 2014

 

 

 

El informe del Relator Especial sobre su visita a México en abril/mayo del 2014 ya se encuentra disponible en españolinglés y francés.

The Special Rapporteur’s report on the visit to Mexico is now available in Spanish, English, and French.

En el informe, el Relator Especial concluye, de manera alarmante, que la tortura es generalizada en México y, en general, llevada a cabo por policías municipales, estatales y federales, agentes ministeriales estatales y federales, y por las fuerzas armadas. Normalmente comienza desde que el sujeto es detenido hasta que es puesto a disposición de un juez y en la mayoría de los casos esta es utilizada como castigo o como parte de la investigación. Las salvaguardas son débiles y las condiciones de detención no siguen los estándares internacionales en materia de derechos humanos siendo el hacinamiento el principal problema. Es por esto que el Relator Especial recomendó al Gobierno de México un número de medidas a implementar y pidió a la comunidad internacional ayudar al Gobierno en su lucha para eliminar la tortura y los malos tratos, revertir la impunidad y garantizar la reparación integral de las víctimas.

 

VISIT TO MEXICO – APRIL – MAY 2014

May 3, 2014 – The Special Rapporteur’s official visit to Mexico, which began on April 21, 2014, concluded Friday, May 2, 2014, with a press conference during which the Special Rapporteur presented preliminary observations and findings about the visit. The event in Mexico City, which was attended by many journalists, was broadcast live and is now available here. The Special Rapporteur also gave an interview with CNN Espanol’s Carmen Aristegui, which is now available to view online.

In this preliminary observations, the Special Rapporteur revealed that torture is common and widespread amongst all levels of authority, from the military to local and state police. Torture typically occurs in the initial stages between a detainee’s arrest and appearance before a judge, and include beatings with fists, feet and sticks, asphyxiation with plastics bags, and electric shock. It is used in particular as a means to extract confessions and obtain information, and regularly occurs in police vehicles or illegal hideouts away from police stations or jails.

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur met with civil society, victims, and high-level government authorities in different parts of the country, including the Federal District, Nuevo Leon, Chiapas and Baja California. Read the press release detailing the Special Rapporteur’s activities during the visit, an English-language news article from the Associated Press, and a Spanish-language article from CNN Espanol about the visit here.

Many NGOs that took part in the meetings compiled and presented in-depth information for the Special Rapporteur, which can be accessed here. Some of the NGOs included the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Francisco de Vitoria OP, Fundación para la Justicia, Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, and Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia, AC-Insyde, among many others. The NGO Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos (CADHAC) created this video on the occasion of the visit, which features statements about torture, ill-treatment, and the human rights situation on the ground in general, by members of local civil society and by the Special Rapporteur. Watch the video here!

Following the Special Rapporteur’s press conference and preliminary observations, many local news sources reported extensively on the visit and on his findings.

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Below you can find background information on the purpose of the visit, daily updates about the Special Rapporteur’s in-country activities, and links to information from local media sources.

ABOUT THE VISIT: DAILY ACTIVITIES

DAY 1: Mexico City: The Special Rapporteur and his team kicked off the Mexico visit on Monday, April 21 with a busy program of activities in the capital.  The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the visit in a statement, and local news outlets provided extensive coverage at the start of the visit. On his first day in Mexico City, the Special Rapporteur met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, and the National Security Commission, marking the start of a full schedule that includes at least 25 official meetings with more than 100 Federal and State government officials. The Special Rapporteur visited the Supreme Court of Justice in the afternoon, where he met its President, Mr. Juan Silva Meza, and other judicial officers. Before the end of the first day, the Special Rapporteur and his team also met with members of the National Victims Commission and with representatives form local NGOs working on issues of torture and ill-treatment

Follow us on Twitter @antitorture_SRT for the most up-to-date news as the visit continues!

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DAY 2: Mexico City: On their second day in Mexico, the Special Rapporteur and his team resumed a series of meetings with high-level government officials and civil society in Mexico City. The day began with meetings with Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, representatives from the Federal District’s Attorney General’s Office, and members of the Federal Judicial Council. The activities continued with a meeting between the Special Rapporteur and Truth Commission for the State of Guerrero.  In the afternoon, he held extensive consultations with NGOs from the states of Michoacan, Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Morelos, Campeche, and Guerrero, which reported on the human rights situation on the ground as well as on cases and allegations of torture. The second day of the visit concluded with the team’s first visit to a detention center.

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DAY 3: Mexico City: The Special Rapporteur’s busy third day in Mexico City began with working meetings with the Secretary of Health and the Director of the Forensic Institute for the Federal District. The Special Rapporteur has consistently emphasized the critical role played by medical professionals and forensic experts in detecting and document signs of torture and ill-treatment. In the afternoon, he met with Deputies and Senators at the Mexican Congress, and with members of the the Human Rights Commission for the Federal District. Later, he joined the President of the Supreme Court to launch a training course focusing on the Mexico’s domestic implementation of international legal standards on torture and ill-treatment. The day ended with a visit by the team to a second detention center.

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DAYS 4 & 5:  As the visit entered its fourth day on Thursday, April 24, the Special Rapporteur and his team traveled outside the Federal District. After visiting a detention facility detention in Tepic, the Special Rapporteur attended a conference in Nuevo Vallarta alongside Mexico’s Attorney General and more than 20 other regional Attorney Generals. On Friday, the Special Rapporteur returned to the Federal District, where he held meetings with officers from the Ministries of Defense and the Navy, and visited other places of dentition. The fifth day of the visit ended with a meeting with the President of the National Commission for Human Rights.

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DAYS 6 & 7:  The visit continued throughout the weekend, as the Special Rapporteur and his team continued their extensive engagement with civil society in different parts of Mexico. On Saturday, the Special Rapporteur held meetings with civil society and victims and and visited two places of detention in the Federal District and in the Estado de México, before traveling to Monterrey, Nuevo León, on Sunday.  In Monterrey, the Special Rapporteur met with victims and NGOs from the states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas y Nuevo León, which reported on specific cases and the situation regarding torture and ill-treatment on the ground generally. The team also visited more places of dentition in the region on Sunday.

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DAYS 8 & 9: The Special Rapporteur’s second week in Mexico began in Nuevo León with a busy day of meetings with the State’s Governor, Attorney General, Human Rights Commission, and the President of Nuevo León’s Supreme Court of Justice. The team then traveled South to Chiapas, where they visited an Immigration Detention Center in Tapachula on Tuesday. Later that day, the Special Rapporteur also met with local government representatives and members of the Human Rights Commission for the State of Chiapas.

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DAYS 10 & 11: Before traveling back to Mexico City in preparation for the Friday, May 2 press conference in Mexico City, the Special Rapporteur and his team visited the state of Baja California. During their final stop outside the capital, the Special Rapporteur and his team met with local civil society, human rights attorneys, representatives from the State Attorney General’s office, and other local government officials.

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Background

The purpose of the Special Rapporteur’s to assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the country. During the visit, the Special Rapporteur intends to discuss and assess the implementation of the new criminal procedures legislation, coerced confessions before national courts, and the use of ‘arraigo’ detention, among other aspects relating to his mandate. The Special Rapporteur and his team will travel to several regions, including Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, Chiapas and Baja California, where they will visit prisons, police stations, interrogation centres, juvenile and women’s facilities, as well as psychiatric institutions and immigration detention facilities, in order to examine the treatment and living conditions of all persons deprived of their liberty. Throughout the visit, the Special Rapporteur will also meet with relevant authorities, the judiciary, national human rights institutions, civil society, international and regional organisations, victims and their families. “I look forward to engaging in a constructive manner with key decision makers and leaders in civil society to help the authorities uphold the rule of law, promote accountability, fulfill the right to reparations for victims, and to ensure that alleged perpetrators are held responsible in conformity with international law,” the Special Rapporteur said ahead of the visit.

Daily updates will be available here throughout the visit! For the latest information, also follow us on Twitter @antitorture_SRT!

 

* The UN Information Center in Mexico is located at Montes Urales Nte. 440, Lomas de Chapultepec, Miguel Hidalgo, 11000 Mexico City, Federal District.

Latest News on México Follow-up!

Special Rapporteur on Torture welcomes the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Experts on the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico

Special Rapporteur on Torture welcomes the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Experts on the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico

September 10 2015- Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez and other independent UN human rights experts have welcomed the report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Independent Group of Experts on the enforced disappearances, executions, and torture of 43 students of Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and encourage the State of Mexico to implement all of its recommendations. In particular, the experts stressed that “prompt and diligent implementation of the recommendations will promote the proper investigation and punishment of those responsible, the clarification of the facts, as well as the search for the victims and redress for them.” They further stressed that the report’s recommendations are also relevant in relation to the significant challenges facing the Mexican State with regards to enforced disappearances, torture, and executions, more generally, and reiterated their offer of cooperation and technical assistance to the State of Mexico. The experts lastly conveyed a message of recognition, solidarity and support to the victims, their families and the students.

To read the press release, please visit the OHCHR website

10 de Septiembre 2015- El Relator Especial sobre la tortura Juan E. Méndez y otros expertos independientes en derechos humanos de las Naciones Unidas le dan la bienvenida al reporte del Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre las desapariciones forzadas, ejecuciones y torturas cometidas en contra de los 43 estudiantes normalistas de Ayotzinapa, en el Estado de Guerrero, México y hace un llamado al Estado de México a implementar las recomendaciones. En particular, los expertos enfatizan que “su pronta y diligente implementación favorecerá la adecuada investigación y sanción de los responsables, el esclarecimiento de los hechos, así como la búsqueda, reparación y atención a las víctimas.” Así mismo recalcaron el hecho de que las recomendaciones del reporte son también relevantes en relación con los grandes desafíos que el estado Mexicano enfrenta en materia de desapariciones forzadas, tortura, y las ejecuciones extrajudiciales en líneas generales. Por último, los expertos reiteraron su ofrecimiento de cooperación y asistencia técnicas al Estado mexicano.

Para leer el comunicado, haga click aqui

UN Human Rights Experts Welcome Mexico’s Constitutional Reforms on Enforced Disappearances and Torture

UN Human Rights Experts Welcome Mexico’s Constitutional Reforms on Enforced Disappearances and Torture

April 30, 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez and members of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances have welcomed new constitutional reforms approved by Mexico that empower its Congress to pass legislation on enforced disappearances and human rights violations including torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The experts welcomed the move as a positive first step in addressing the recommendations issued by Special Rapporteur Mendez and the Working Group in 2015 and 2012, respectively. They noted that the future legislation should ensure a comprehensive policy response to the serious problems faced by Mexico with regards to enforced disappearances and the prevalence of torture and other ill-treatment, and must meet the highest international standards. They further stressed that the laws should be drafted and approved pursuant to an inclusive participatory process involving consultations with civil society and victims, and that legislative measures can only be effective if their effectively implemented in practice. To read the Spanish-language press release in full, please click here. To learn more about the Special Rapporteur’s work on Mexico, please visit our page dedicated to Mexico.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez Discusses Report on Mexico

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez Discusses Report on Mexico

April 8, 2015 – This week, the Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez published an op-ed in Mexico’s El Universal and gave an interview on CNN en Español, discussing his recent report on Mexico. The Special Rapporteur addressed the Government’s concerns regarding the report’s characterization of the use of torture in Mexico as “generalized,” noting that the term is intended to denote that the use of torture is not limited to one particular investigative body or authority within the country. He further detailed his method of work, noting that his report was based, among other sources, on extensive interviews with detainees in more than 11 detention facilities in five regions of Mexico conducted during his visit to Mexico in the spring of 2014. The Special Rapporteur stressed that he looks forward to continued constructive dialogue with the Government of Mexico and to the possibility of conducting a follow-up visit to Mexico in the future. You can watch the interview on CCN en Español here and read the op-ed in El Universal here.