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Mexico

    February 18, 2015

    By Kathy Price, Mexico Campaigner for Amnesty International Canada

    The messages that arrived in my inbox could not be ignored! They were bursting with positive emotion as they told of an important victory over injustice in Mexico.

    The texts were sent by Claudia Medina, a woman whose experience of torture and persecution had so moved me and other members of an Amnesty Canada delegation that visited Mexico last September.

    When we met Claudia five months ago, she was living with the traumatic scars of what was done to her while she was detained at a naval base in 2012: the beatings, the hot peppers forced up her nose, the electric shocks, the sexual assault. Her torturers added psychological torture, threatening to rape her with a metal bar and bring in her children to the torture chamber unless Claudia “confessed” to involvement in an armed, criminal gang.

    Not surprisingly, Claudia signed the “confession” she was not allowed to read and hung her head as she was presented as a dangerous criminal at a press conference by security forces anxious to show results in its "war on drugs".

    February 13, 2015

    The Mexican government must take serious steps to tackle the disappearance of thousands of people, said Amnesty International as the United Nation’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances prepares to publish recommendations to the country today.

    “More than 22,600 people have disappeared or gone missing in Mexico in the past eight years. Meanwhile thousands more people wait in anguish and turmoil unsure of what has happened to their loved ones. The recommendations to the Mexican government cannot just be baseless words, but instead must herald a tangible and urgent change in policy and legislation to address this chronic situation. It is time for the authorities to wake up to this tragedy,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Last week the UN Committee reviewed the situation in Mexico and heard from victims and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, in Geneva. The UN body will publish its recommendations to the Mexican government today.

    February 12, 2015
    Claudia Medina with Amnesty activists from Canada holding a banner with solidarity messages. (c) Amnesty International

    By Mariano Machain, Amnesty International’s campaigner on Mexico.

    I have seen Claudia Medina cry many times.

    She cried when she told me about the torture, including sexual abuse, she suffered at the hands of Mexican marines in 2012. She also cried when she explained what it is like to live with federal charges pending over her head, accused of being a member of a criminal gang, facing the risk of being arrested again at any time. Then once more when she told me about how her children were suffering.

    But today is the first time I have seen her cry out of joy and relief. A judge has just dropped the last remaining charge against her, arguing that the sole piece of evidence – a report filed by the marines – is a lie.

    The judge confirmed that after her arrest Claudia was tortured and sexually assaulted by marines in order to force her to incriminate herself and others in drug-related crimes. The offences took place on 7 August 2012 at a Navy barracks in Veracruz state, Eastern Mexico.

    February 11, 2015

    A heavy cloud has been lifted from a courageous survivor of torture.

    Mexican authorities have dropped all criminal charges against Claudia Medina Tamariz, a Mexican woman who was tortured and forced into a false confession.

    In 2012, marines broke into the home of Claudia Medina Tamariz, mother of three. They took her away to a local naval base. There, Claudia suffered terrible torture, including electric shocks and sexual assault.

    The torture was aimed at forcing Claudia to incriminate herself in drug-related crimes. To make the torture stop, Claudia signed a piece of paper put before her. She later discovered it was a “confession” to crimes she had not committed.

    Amnesty International members in Canada, and around the world, rallied to support Claudia and express concern to Mexican authorities about was done to her.

    Your efforts have made a difference!

    This is what Claudia had to say when she learned all the charges had been dropped:

    February 09, 2015

    The Mexican government must urgently address serious flaws in its investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students after forensic experts cast major doubts on the Attorney General’s inquiry, said Amnesty International today.

    The recent report from the  Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF), - network of professional forensic experts, reveals that the announcement by the Attorney General of Mexico, Jesús Murillo Karam, that he was prepared to close the case after human remains were found in Cocula dump were based on assumptions and completely premature. The EEAF stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the human remains found in Cocula are those of the missing students.

    January 28, 2015

    The announcement by the Mexican Attorney General that all the missing Ayotzinapa students are dead is premature and risks curtailing a full and thorough investigation into this tragedy, said Amnesty International today.

    Yesterday Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced that he could prove the students were dead, basing his findings mainly on confessions from arrested suspects. He was unable, however, to show strong evidence of it.

    “If the Attorney General hopes that this announcement will draw a line under this tragedy then he is wrong. There are still many, many questions left unanswered, including the possible complicity, by action or omission, of the army and other authorities in the attack against these young student teachers,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “I have met with the families and those left behind, I have seen their pain and it is not something that can be swept under the carpet. Mexico’s troubled past when it comes to police investigations is all the more reason for this investigation to continue until there is solid proof of what happened to these young men.”

    January 22, 2015

    By: Alex Neve Published on Wed Jan 21 2015, originally published in the Toronto Star

    There are many reasons to lament Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to cancel next month’s scheduled Three Amigos Summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. At the top of the list is the missed opportunity to push for effective solutions to Mexico’s acute human rights crisis.

    Mexico: Raise your voice for 42 missing students

    TAKE ACTION

    January 21, 2015

    15:00 GMT 22 January 2015

    The Attorney General of Mexico has failed to properly investigate all lines of inquiry into allegations of complicity by armed forces and others in authority in the enforced disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher college, said Amnesty International today after meeting with family members of the victims.

    At an Amnesty International press conference today in Mexico City experts will critique the faltering investigations overseen by the Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam and will outline the demands of the parents of the 43 students. The Attorney General’s office said that all lines of enquiry have now been exhausted.

    “We have a catalogue of concerns over the way the investigation has been run and whether the full range of these crimes, including enforced disappearance and the killing of six people when the students were first attacked have been fully addressed,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.

    January 16, 2015

    These are identification photos of the students abducted by police and gunmen in September. They and their families need your help. 

    DOWNLOAD PDF

    Is it a crime to be a student and dream of one day becoming a teacher? Is it a crime to speak up for the right to education for all children so they can have a better future?

    On September 26, 2014, a group of students were heading to a nearby town from their teacher-training school in Ayotzinapa (pronounced I ot zi napa). They planned to raise funds for their education and take part in a peaceful rally to defend the rights of all students.

    Without warning, police and gunmen attacked the bus the students were travelling in. Three students were killed. More than 40 others were taken away. Their families have not seen them again.

    Investigators have done too little, too late to find the students and protect them from harm.

    November 27, 2014

    Mexico must drop overblown charges and urgently release 11 demonstrators who have been unfairly held in two remote high-security prisons after protesting at the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, said Amnesty International ahead of a crucial hearing on the case on Saturday.

    The organization is also calling for an immediate investigation into allegations that the police officers beat and threatened the protesters while in detention.

    “The evidence against the 11 protesters is so thin that it is incredibly hard to understand why they are still in detention, let alone in high-security facilities and treated as ‘high value criminals’. Such acts raise the question of whether there is a deliberate attempt to discourage legitimate protests,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    November 26, 2014

    “I’ve been working for the drug cartels and helped place a car bomb that killed two police officers,” said Rogelio Amaya, looking straight at the camera lens. He appeared shaken, his body bruised.

    Within hours, a version of the video featuring Rogelio and four of his friends confessing to the crime plastered the TV screens of Ciudad Juárez, in northern Mexico along the border with the USA.

    The town is one of the most violent in the country, infamous for brutal clashes among competing drug cartels and law-enforcement officers.

    The local authorities congratulated themselves for having captured who they said were members of “La Línea”, a local drug cartel who had been terrorizing people in the area for years. They were also blamed for the recent explosion of a car bomb in downtown Juárez.

    Drug dealers behind bars. Problem solved.

    But a few years into the men’s prison term, the real story of how the video was made came to light – and exposed the shocking use of torture that pervades across Mexico.

    November 19, 2014

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner

    You may have noticed an Amnesty International campaign "Think Winter is Torture,Think Mexico" that reaches out to potential Canadian travellers to Mexico.

    There's a compelling reason why Amnesty is reaching out this way and it starts with an alarming human rights situation in Mexico. What has been revealed in the last couple of months in Mexico is a horror story that is simply unacceptable. Yet it's one that has largely escaped attention in Canada and the condemnation that could help make it stop.

    November 18, 2014

    Before leaving to have some fun in the sun, Canadians are being encouraged to discover the secret Mexico locals know. If Canadians think winter is torture they should know that there is an epidemic of the real thing in Mexico.

    A special advertising campaign created by Agency59 is being launched today by Amnesty International Canada. www.lastchancetravelclub.ca  is a travel ‘company' offering sun-seekers great discount travel deals to Mexico. Or so it seems. In fact, it becomes clear on second glance that the site is actually showcasing the plight of torture victims in that country, and the microsite links to the actual Amnesty website.

    Canadians who click onto the Last Chance Travel Club site will be asked to raise their voices in solidarity with Mexicans and send a message to Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto to address the human rights crisis that is staining Mexico’s reputation.

    November 07, 2014

    The statement by Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam today that the 43 students who disappeared in September could have been killed, burned and dumped in a river fails to address the government’s complicity in this tragedy, Amnesty International said today.

     

      __________________________   “

        Tragically, the enforced disappearance of these student teachers is just the latest in a long line of horrors to have befallen Guerrero state, and the rest of the country. The warning signs of corruption and violence have been there for all to see for years, and those that negligently ignored them are themselves complicit in this tragedy.

    Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director of Amnesty International
    Sat, 08/11/2014

    October 31, 2014
    Valentina Rosendo Cantú (middle) meets with Amnesty activists Kathy Price and Dolores Soto

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    How often do you get the chance to sit down with a hero whose courageous actions make change happen where it is least expected? I got just that opportunity when I travelled to a small town in Mexico (unnamed for security reasons) to meet up with Valentina Rosendo Cantú.

    Like other Me’phaa Indigenous women from beautiful Guerrero State, Valentina is small in stature. But I can tell you that she has the courage of a giant.

    In 2002, Valentina was washing clothes in a stream when an army patrol arrived. They demanded information about people they accused of subversion. Valentina knew nothing about what they were asking. She barely understood the Spanish they spoke. She was just 17 years old. The soldiers proceeded to torture and rape her.

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