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    September 09, 2014


    by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
    - September 8, 2014, from Guadalajara, Mexico

    UPDATE: Ángel Colon was released in October 2014! He's now struggling for justice in his case and speaking out against torture in Mexico. Take Action >> Stand with Angel. 

    The prison we were about to visit loomed large and intimidating     Watch video of Angel Colon

    It had been a two and a half hour drive from Guadalajara. As we approached, the ominously named prison, CEFERESO Number 4, the Federal Centre for Social Rehabilitation, loomed large and intimidating at the bottom of one last hill.

    We spent the next hour going through the most extensive series of endless security checks I’ve been through in any prison visit, anywhere. It included a stamp on our forearms which only showed up under a special light, which we had to show again on our way out to demonstrate that none of us had stayed behind and allowed a prisoner to slip out in our place. There was, in fact, far more visible security than I have experienced on any of the visits I’ve made to the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    September 04, 2014
    Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received more than 7,000 complaints for torture and other ill-treatment between 2010 and 2013. © Claudia Daut/Reuters

    Torture and ill-treatment in Mexico is out of control with a 600 per cent rise in the number of reported cases in the past decade, according to a new report published by Amnesty International. The organization is calling on the Mexican government to act now to stop the wide-spread and persistent use of torture by members of the police and armed forces.

    The report, Out of control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico charts a serious rise of torture and other ill-treatment and a prevailing culture of tolerance and impunity. Only seven torturers have ever been convicted in federal courts and even fewer have been prosecuted at state level.

    July 23, 2014

    An undocumented migrant who was arrested and tortured by the Mexican police and army is currently facing an unfair trial solely because of his ethnicity and should be released immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today, as it named him a prisoner of conscience.

    In 2009 Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo, a member of the Afro-descent Garífuna community, was picked up by police in Tijuana, Mexico, as he attempted to travel from his home in Honduras to the United States. He has been detained since then, charged with being part of a criminal gang.

    “Ángel Colón’s detention and ongoing trial is purely based on his ethnicity, and as such is a travesty of justice. This is a man who has been tortured and severely mistreated. He must be released immediately and unconditionally”, said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    May 13, 2014

    by Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International

    “I am here to ask for your help,” said Claudia Medina when I met her in Mexico earlier this year. “I’m going to report a crime of torture.”

    Her words touched me, because I knew what Claudia had been through. At 3am on 7 August 2012, marines broke into the home she shared with her husband and three children. They tied her hands and blindfolded her, put her in a pick-up truck and took her to a naval base in Veracruz City. They accused her of being a member of a powerful and violent criminal gang, which she flatly denied.

    April 28, 2014

    The Mexican Congress must pass a reform of the Code of Military Justice that would see military personnel implicated in human rights violations against civilians face investigation and trial in the civilian justice system, Amnesty International said today.

    The proposed reform, approved last week by the Senate is due to be debated and voted this week by the Chamber of Deputies, just before the current legislative session ends.

    “The reform of the Code of Military Justice would be an historic move. The lack of independence and impartiality of the military justice system has ensured impunity until now, preventing justice for the victims of human rights violations committed by the Mexican military,” said Rupert Knox, Amnesty International’s researcher on Mexico.

    Over the years, Armed Forces personnel suspected of involvement in ill-treatment and torture, unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations, have routinely escaped justice.

    March 19, 2014

    Mexico must put into action the promises it makes to the United Nations Human Rights Council tomorrow if it is to address the dire human rights situation in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “Effective long-lasting measures have to be taken to address ongoing patterns of disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions as well as routine attacks on men and women defending human rights, journalists and migrants. Mexico must not fail again to uphold its commitments to the international community,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    Tomorrow Mexico will announce to Human Rights Council members which of their 176 recommendations it will adopt. In 2009, during its last appearance before this human rights body, Mexico said it would implement the majority of recommendations. However, it then failed to take action in many areas to prevent the human rights crisis, which continues to this day.

    February 24, 2014

    Four members of the armed forces, accused of torture and sexual violence against two women in Mexico, have been detained to stand trial.

    Since 2002, Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú have been fighting for justice against the Mexican soldiers who raped them in separate attacks.

    Following the failure of an original trial conducted through the military courts, Ines and Valentina appealed to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR).

    In August 2010, the IACtHR issued two judgements against Mexico and ordered a full civilian investigation, as well as reparations and reforms to the military justice system.

    Over three years later the Government has finally brought the accused to trial. This represents a huge step towards achieving justice for the two women.

    February 18, 2014

    At a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, delivered a memorandum demanding an urgent list of actions to combat entrenched impunity and serious human rights violations.  

    The meeting focussed on widespread torture, the large number of disappearances, abuses against migrants and refugees, attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, and violence faced by women and indigenous persons.

    “While Mexico is an increasingly important actor on the world stage, not only in economic terms but in the field of human rights, it is failing to deliver at home. I told the President that he must demonstrate he is serious about ensuring human rights not just internationally but for all inside the country as well,” said Salil Shetty.

    “The President has the power to address Mexico’s worrying human rights situation. He should take urgent and concrete steps to ensure full respect for human rights for every individual in the country.”

    December 05, 2013
     President Enrique Peña Nieto addresses an international Business Summit in Guadalajara on 22 October 2013. (c)HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Image
    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    This week marks one year since Enrique Peña Nieto became president of Canada’s free trade partner south of the Rio Grande, returning the reins of power to the notorious political party, the PRI, which held Mexico in an iron grip from 1929 to 2000.

    The always photogenic Peña Nieto campaigned on promises that he was the face of a new PRI and a new Mexico that would break with a history of corruption, inequality and violence. Once in office he announced an ambitious programme of reforms and promised he would end the exponential increase in human rights abuses during the presidency of his predecessor Felipe Calderón.

    One year later, it is clear that President Peña Nieto has not delivered on his promises. The situation on the ground remains increasingly dangerous and disturbing. “On the Peña Nieto train, human rights have so far had to settle for the third-class carriage,” concludes Javier Zúñiga, a special adviser with Amnesty International.

    October 30, 2013

    The Mexican President’s decision to pardon indigenous teacher Alberto Patishtán who was imprisoned for more than a decade following an unfair trial is a long overdue recognition of the injustice done to him, but it should spur a complete review of countless unfair trial cases, Amnesty International said today.

    “This is an innocent man who has been in prison for 13 years. The Presidential pardon is a big relief for Alberto Patishtán and his family, but it falls short of delivering truth, justice and reparation. Those responsible for his unfair trial and imprisonment should be held to account,” said Javier Zúñiga, special advisor at Amnesty International.

    “Mexico’s prisons are populated by countless people like Patishtán. His liberation should be only the first step towards a total review of those cases and the adoption of measures that put a halt to discrimination and inequality in the access to justice.”

    The presidential pardon is the result of years of campaigning by Alberto Patishtán, his lawyers and supportive non-governmental organizations.

    October 22, 2013

    The Mexican government’s fine words on human rights bear little resemblance to its actions on the ground, Amnesty International said one day before the country’s comes under the scrutiny of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    “While the Mexican government is unrivalled in its rhetorical commitment to human rights, it continues to fail to take the decisive measures it committed to,” said Rupert Knox, Amnesty International’s Mexico researcher.

    “The government’s claim that it ‘has secured momentous advances to guarantee the promotion, protection and defence of human rights’ is far from the truth.”

    According to Amnesty International the Mexican government has failed in its promise to comply with recommendations made by the Council to ensure the protection of human rights in 2009.

    September 27, 2013

    Mexico’s military justice system is failing victims of alleged human rights violations by the army and navy, but the Mexican Senate has a key opportunity to change that, Amnesty International said today.

    “If the Mexican legislature wants to prove they have a real commitment to upholding human rights, they will seize this key opportunity to reform the military justice system once and for all, and ensure civilian justice to investigate and try all cases of human rights violations by the armed forces,” said Daniel Zapico, Amnesty International Mexico director.

    “This would bring Mexico in line with international human rights standards as well as rulings by the Inter American Court of Human Rights on the matter over the last years.”

    June 04, 2013

    Eight year old Brandon Esteban Acosta was travelling in a car with his father and two uncles outside the Mexican city of Saltillo when armed men abducted them on 29 August 2009. More than three years later, Brandon’s mother Lourdes still has no answers about where they were taken, who committed this crime and whether her loved ones are still alive. It is a nightmare without end.

    Lourdes is not the only one in this agonizing limbo. Families have reported more than 26,000 people missing or disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2012.

    Mexican authorities have a duty to investigate these crimes, whether they are abductions committed by criminal gangs acting alone or enforced disappearances in which public officials have colluded or participated. Mexican authorities are failing in this duty, perpetuating a climate of impunity which puts further people at risk of being disappeared.

    June 04, 2013

    Disappearances in Mexico have become commonplace because federal and state authorities have tolerated and refused to clamp down on them, Amnesty International said as it launched a new briefing today.

    The recent commitments by senior government officials to end disappearances and locate the victims are important, but will mean nothing to the relatives if they do not produce tangible results to end impunity and clarify the whereabouts of victims.

    Confronting a nightmare: Disappearances in Mexico highlights the country’s ongoing pattern of disappearances amid the government’s efforts to rein in organized criminal groups. These often include enforced disappearances – carried out by public officials.

    The federal government has recognized that at least 26,000 people were reported disappeared or missing over the last six years. Last week the Interior Minister suggested the real number was much lower, despite the lack of full investigations.

    June 04, 2013

    A mother’s tireless efforts to search for her missing son tell a tale of horror and hope in Mexico

    by Kathy Price, Amnesty International Canada's campaigner on Latin America


    More than two years have passed since I met Yolanda but I have never forgotten her or the harrowing story she told me.

    Yolanda’s son Dan Jeremeel, an insurance agent living in northern Mexico and the father of four young children, disappeared in December 2008.  He left the house according to his normal routine. But he never returned. He was never seen again.


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