Voices from our members: Mexican human rights defenders reports to UN Committee

Editor’s Note: The following is a blog post submission from our member centre in Mexico, Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad (CCTI) (in English, the Collective Against Torture and Impunity). In the beginning of November, Mexico faced a review of their compliance with the UN Convention against Torture. During this process, CCTI with the IRCT and other Mexican and international organisations in providing their own reports on the situation of torture in Mexico. Here is a blog on their own experience in this process.  Abajo, en español

The UN Committee against Torture heard from IRCT Mexican member CCTI on serious issues hampering the struggle against impunity for torturers and justice for the victims.

On 31 October and 1 November, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) examined the Mexican state. This revision happened just before the departure of the current President Felipe Calderón, during whose administration it was reported a dramatic increase of human rights violations, including torture, forced disappearances as well as attacks against human rights defenders and journalists.

The Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad (CCTI) participated in the elaboration of an alternative report about the situation of torture in Mexico and submitted another report, together with the IRCT, about the implementation of the Istanbul Protocol [PDF]. In both reports, the importance of the effectiveness and independence of torture investigations, including medico-psychological documentation, was underlined. The fight against impunity represents a fundamental aspect in the prevention of torture. However, Mexico is characterised by the total impunity for perpetrators, leaving the victims in a situation of double vulnerability.

In the examination, the CAT members questioned the state about the lack of investigation and sanctions against the offenders. Additionally, they highlighted the issues of arraigo detention, military law, the Istanbul Protocol and the situation of human rights defenders, migrants and women.

As expected, the state denied the inefficacy of its actions, offered partial and incomplete information and avoided several questions. The state presented itself as a promoter of human rights and justified arraigo detention, the opening of more high security prisons and the involvement of the military in public security matters.

The human rights organisations at the examination had the opportunity to meet with the Committee and raise their concerns. They were heard and their recommendations were taken in consideration in what concerns questioning the report by the Mexican state. CCTI, as well the other organisations present at the examination, hope that the recommendations by the Committee are compelling and detailed and help the work of exposing and fighting torture in Mexico.

 

 

Los días 31 de octubre y 1 de noviembre el Estado mexicano fue examinado ante el Comité Contra la Tortura (CAT) de la ONU. Esta revisión se dio poco antes de la salida del actual presidente Felipe Calderón en cuya administración se ha reportado un aumento dramático de violaciones a los Derechos Humanos, incluyendo la tortura, la desaparición forzada y agresiones contra defensores y periodistas.

EL Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad (CCTI) participó en la elaboración de un informe alternativo acerca de la situación de tortura en México y entregó otro informe sobre la implementación del Protocolo de Estambul conjuntamente con el IRCT [PDF]. En ambos se destaca la importancia de la eficacia e independencia de las investigaciones por tortura, incluyendo la documentación médico-psicológica. La lucha contra la impunidad  representa un aspecto fundamental en la prevención de la tortura. México se caracteriza por la total impunidad para los perpetradores, lo que deja a las víctimas en una situación de doble vulnerabilidad.

En la revisión los miembros del CAT cuestionaron al estado acerca de la falta de investigaciones y sanciones en contra de los agresores. Además destacaron los temas de arraigo, el fuero militar, el Protocolo de Estambul, la situación de los defensores, migrantes y mujeres.

Como era de esperar, el estado negó la ineficacia de sus acciones, proporcionó información parcial e incompleta o evitó contestar varias preguntas. Se presentó como promotor de derechos humanos, sin embargo justificó la figura del arraigo, la creación de más cárceles de alta seguridad y la participación de militares en tareas de seguridad pública.

Las organizaciones de derechos humanos que asistieron a la revisión tuvieron la posibilidad de reunirse con el CAT y plantear sus preocupaciones. Fueron escuchados y sus recomendaciones fueron tomados en cuenta al cuestionar el informe del estado mexicano. El CCTI así como las demás organizaciones esperamos que las recomendaciones del CAT sean contundentes, precisas y ayuden en su labor de denunciar y combatir la tortura en México.

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