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Mexico

    November 05, 2015

    “I will carry on searching for my brother even if it costs me my life.”

    These are the agonizing words of Brenda Rangel Ortiz, seen at right in a happier moment with her brother Héctor. He was on a business trip on November 10, 2009 when he phoned to say he had been stopped by municipal police in the town of Monclova. He was never seen again.

    Brenda and her family have knocked on countless doors, in their efforts to find Héctor. It's a dangerous undertaking.

    “We’ve received death threats warning us not to look for Hector, not to investigate what happened,” reports Brenda. “But we will not give up.”

    Brenda’s quest is fuelled by both love and anguish. “I don’t know where he is, if he is still alive, if he is being tortured,” she says.

    October 27, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.

    The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.

    There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.  

    October 23, 2015

    Released  23 October 2015, 00:01Hs Mexico (05:01 GMT)

    Mexico’s torture epidemic has reached new catastrophic levels with reports of asphyxiation, rape and other sexual abuse, electric shocks and beatings at the federal level more than doubling in the last year, said Amnesty International in a new report today as President Peña Nieto prepares to present a new Torture Bill to Congress.

    “A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine how Mexico’s torture crisis could have gotten any worse and then it just did while the government continues to turn a blind eye to a crisis of their own creation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The number of torture complaints filed at the federal level more than doubled between 2013 and 2014 – from 1,165 to 2,403, according to data from Mexico’s Federal Attorney General´s Office.

    The Federal Attorney General´s Office told Amnesty International that they have “no hard data” on any  charges issued in 2014 against those responsible.

    October 12, 2015

    In support of Amnesty International’s campaign against disappearances in Mexico, world-renowned singer and songwriter Sting met with relatives of some of the thousands who have gone missing in the country in recent years.

    “It is not hard to imagine the anguish and torment that families undergo when a loved one disappears, vanishes without trace or explanation, when attempts to find them or discover their fate are frustrated by the apparent indifference of the authorities to a situation that has become an epidemic in Mexico,” said Sting.

    “I met with some of the families, but they are just the tip of the iceberg, I call on the Mexican government to follow up on these cases far more vigorously, to find and prosecute those responsible and to prevent through legislation this scourge of disappearances and human rights abuses.”

    October 06, 2015

    By HyunGu Kang, Amnesty International Canada Youth Leader

    On a sunny Sunday in late September, Amnesty Toronto’s Youth Leadership Council hosted our first public event in Toronto’s popular Kensington Market.

    On the one hand, we were terrified. This was the first time we’d be representing Amnesty to non-members, and we were eager to do a good job. On the other, we were resolved.

    It was one year since 43 students “disappeared” after being taken away by police in Mexico – one year in which authorities did far too little to find the missing students and seemed intent, instead, on a shameful cover-up. We knew this was unacceptable, and we wanted the public to know it, too.

    September 23, 2015

    Released 23 September 2015 at 00:01HS Mexico Time (05:00am GMT)

    The Mexican authorities’ reckless handling of the investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teaching school in Iguala, Guerrero a year ago today, exposes a scandalous cover-up orchestrated by the highest levels of government, said Amnesty International.
     

    Urge Mexico to find them and halt an epidemic of torture and disappearances 

    September 23, 2015

    Released 23 September 2015 at 00:01 Mexico time (05:00 GMT)

    Omar García – Second-year student at the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos “Ayotzinapa”, in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.

    On the night of Friday 26 September 2014, 24-year-old Omar García was writing a paper when he received a desperate call from one of his friends who was in a bus in the nearby town of Iguala.  

    His friend told him police officers were indiscriminately shooting at a group of students who were crossing the town on their way to a demonstration in Mexico City to mark the anniversary of the 2 October 1968 Tlatelolco massacre of unarmed students.

    “I was shocked and alarmed. I ran out of my room calling my friends. ‘Our friends are being shot at in Iguala, we have to go!’ I shouted. Everybody was upset,” he said.

    “Around 30 of us went to Iguala. When we arrived we started visiting hospitals, the courts, the prison. We asked people everywhere if they had seen our friends. But everybody said they had not seen them.

    September 22, 2015
    43 – Students arrested and forcibly disappeared by police on 26 September 2014

    6 – People extrajudicially executed on the night of 26 September 2014 (three students and three by-standers).

    25 - People injured.

    42 – Students whose whereabouts are still unknown.

    1 – Student, 19-year-old Alexander Mora Venancio, was confirmed dead on 6 December 2014 after a DNA testing by experts from the University of Innsbruck who established that DNA taken from a piece of burned bone allegedly found in a river matched that of the student’s family.

    September 06, 2015

    A new report by a group of experts from the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on the investigation of the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico, uncovers the authorities’ utter incompetence and lack of will to find the students and bring those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International.

    “The revelation by the group of experts of the inconsistencies in the official theory that the students were incinerated in a dumpster highlights the need to urgently redirect investigations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Mexico is going through one of the worst human rights crisis of the last decades. The catalogue of failures in the search and investigation over the disappearance of the 43 students that the experts have reported is a massive stain on the Mexican government’s reputation, which they can only begin to reverse if they find those responsible.”

    September 02, 2015

    The gruesome discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of at least 31 individuals in northern Mexico highlights the urgent need for robust action to tackle the country’s rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis, said Amnesty International.

    “Mexico is miserably losing the battle against disappearances, with nearly 25,000 people going missing since 2007. This latest discovery must be a wake-up call for authorities in Mexico to take real action to stop what seems to be an endless list of horrors taking place across the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “As a first step, Mexican authorities must ensure that, unlike too many times in the past, forensic investigations into this shocking discovery are conducted in a way that protects all evidence and leads to the identification of the remains and to justice for the relatives of the victims.”

    August 21, 2015

    The disgraceful lack of effective investigations into the mass killings of 72 migrants in Mexico five years ago is giving a green light to criminal groups who terrorize and murder people crossing the country to seek safety and a better life, said Amnesty International.  

    On 22 August 2010, the corpses of 58 men and 14 women from Central and South America were found piled up inside a ranch in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, near Mexico’s border with Texas. Since then, authorities have made a number of arrests but have failed to publish any information as to whether anyone has been sentenced.  

    Those responsible are believed to be members of criminal gangs, many of them suspected to be working in collusion with local security agencies.  

    “The mass killings in San Fernando paint a gruesome picture of the state of human rights in Mexico, where being a migrant seems to be reason enough for criminals to harass, torture and murder you,” said Carolina Jiménez, Americas Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International.  

    July 27, 2015

    The latest confirmation that Mexican authorities have unearthed scores of mass graves in recent months during the search for 43 disappeared students underscores the enormity of the crisis of enforced disappearances faced in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    July 09, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Amnesty Canada's Mexico campaigner

    The long, sun-filled days of July are a time of joyful freedom for many of us in Canada, as we take a break from work or school to enjoy hanging out with friends and family. Not so for a young mother in Mexico called Yecenia Armenta.

    July 03, 2015

    The Mexican civilian authorities must urgently investigate a recently uncovered military document that seems to indicate that the killing of 22 people in June 2014 was not the outcome of a clash between soldiers and a criminal gang as the military reported, but the direct result of an order to “take down criminals”, said Amnesty International.

    “This military order has come to light in the midst of the most grievous human rights crisis in Mexico’s recent history which has resulted in thousands of people killed or disappeared. It is fundamental that President Enrique Peña Nieto publicly condemns this act and makes a public commitment to human rights by ordering a prompt, thorough and independent investigation by civilian authorities into the way the armed forces are implementing the government’s security policy,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 30, 2015
    AI Canada's Secretary General Alex Neve congratulates former prisoner of conscience and torture survivor Angel Amílcar Colón Quevedo after his inspiring speech at Amnesty's AGM

    By Kathy Price, Mexico Campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    I’m betting that no one who met Garifuna defender and former prisoner of conscience Angel Amílcar Colón Quevedo during his recent visit to Canada will forget his incredible smile or his inspiring words. I certainly won’t!

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