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    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.

    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!

    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".

    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.

    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.

    Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment thrive behind closed doors. It must stop, and those responsible for authorizing and implementing it must be held accountable.

    The UN Convention Against Torture defines torture as "…the intentional infliction of severe physical or mental pain or suffering for purposes such as obtaining information or a confession, or punishing, intimidating or coercing someone." Torture is always illegal. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

    Abuse of prisoners doesn’t have to be torture to be illegal. Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment (CID) is also illegal under international and Canadian law. CID includes any harsh or neglectful treatment that could damage a detainee’s physical or mental health or any punishment intended to cause physical or mental pain or suffering, or to humiliate or degrade the person being punished.

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