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Mexico

    May 06, 2020

    This Mother's Day, amidst stay-at-home restrictions in both Canada and Mexico, we are in solidarity with the mothers of the disappeared in Mexico as they continue to seek answers to an agonizing question: where are their missing loved ones?

    Disappearances in Mexico continue to increase to record numbers. According to the latest figures, more than 61,600 people have been reported missing. Behind that staggering statistic are human beings robbed of all that matters, and family after family tortured by not knowing what happened, where their loved ones were taken and if they are still alive, in need of rescue.

    It is thanks to the tireless, caring efforts of families of the disappeared in Mexico - who came together to support each other, formed networks, and then a national movement - that there have been some signs of hope. Legislation, a National Search System and specialized investigators, amongst other advances – none would have been possible without the dedication and bravery of the families, especially the mothers. 

    April 23, 2020

    Amnesty International sent an open letter today to the Undersecretary of Prevention and the Promotion of Health, Dr Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, the maximum authority on the response to COVID-19 in the country, to express its concerns about the lack of protection of the health of migrants and people in need of international protection in Mexico.

    “Dr. Lopez-Gatell has been very clear that the best way to protect oneself from contracting COVID-19 is through social distancing; likewise, the Ministry of the Interior has publicly stated that the migrant population is among the most vulnerable. However, the lack of a strong response from the National Migration Institute to protect the lives and health of people in migration detention is extremely alarming," said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    April 22, 2020

    Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar. Photo credit: Facebook of Adelaida Salas

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 58/20 HERE

    On 30 March 2020, the Secretariat of Public Security of Yucatan, Mexico, withdrew the police accompaniment to human rights defender Clemencia Adelaida Salas Salazar alleging its response to COVID-19. Adelaida Salas has had protective measures granted by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) since March 2017. The state of Yucatan must not use measures in response to the pandemic as a pretext to weaken or withdraw protection for human rights defenders. We urge the government of Yucatan to immediately restore Adelaida’s protection measures in accordance with the highest international human rights standards.

    February 19, 2020

    Amnesty International sent an open letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador today requesting a meeting and expressing its concern over the government’s response to the grave human rights crisis that Mexico is facing.

    “Although the government has taken some action on human rights issues, this action is still not enough to seriously address the crisis that the country has been facing for many years now. It is worrying to hear disparaging speeches from President López Obrador about the role of human rights defenders, or to see how the National Guard is used to thwart the passage of migrants and refugees, or that, faced with a wave of homicides and femicides, the government would maintain failed strategies of militarization of public security tasks of previous administrations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    November 28, 2019

    Nearly one year after Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as president, his government has failed to make substantial progress on resolving the human rights crisis in Mexico, said Amnesty International today, when presenting an assessment of some of the most important issues on the national agenda, in the report “When words are not enough”.

    “President López Obrador's government has shown it is willing to take some measures on some issues, especially on disappearances in the country. However, after one year in government, there has been no substantial change in the lives of the millions of people facing an extremely serious human rights crisis that has now lasted for more than a decade. The extremely high levels of violence that threaten the right to life, the widespread use of torture, the alarming levels of violence against women and a militarized public security strategy that is as present as ever are all signs of the tragic situation in Mexico,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    November 25, 2019

    Arnulfo Cerón Soriano via Twitter

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 162 HERE

    Authorities found the body of indigenous human rights defender Arnulfo Cerón Soriano on 20 November in a clandestine grave near the city of Tlapa, Guerrero state in western Mexico. He had been missing for 40 days.

    Arnulfo was a member of the Popular Mountain Front and Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of the State of Guerrero (MOLPEG). He disappeared on 11 October on his way to a meeting in Tlapa. Authorities must investigate his disappearance and death, holding those responsible to account, and must ensure the safety of Arnulfo´s family and organizations that support him. 

    During 2019, Arnulfo and members of MOLPEG had received threatening phone calls and messages relating to their activism work. Following the arrest of suspects in Arnulfo´s disappearance, family members received threatening messages. MOLPEG members noted strange persons outside their residences and the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre has observed unknown persons on watch outside their offices. 

    October 31, 2019

    From October 22th to 26th, Amnesty Canada's Alex Neve joined a global Amnesty delegation to monitor the impact of anti-asylum policies at the US-Mexico border. They met with the consul general of Mexico in San Diego, the National Commission of Human Rights in Tijuana, visited shelters in Tijuana and San Diego, met with NGOs and UN agencies on both sides of the border, and met with legal aid providers and toured a shelter for unaccompanied children in Brownsville, TX. On their last day, the group crossed the border into Matamoros, Mexico to speak with families and others who have been affected by the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.

    Matamoros, Mexico

    “Some days we cry.  Some days we laugh.  And we are here to lift each other up when we are down.”

    September 27, 2019

    Twelve countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the Escazú Agreement in a major victory for the environment and human rights that should inspire the rest of the region to follow suit, said Amnesty International.

    Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay all signed the treaty at the first opportunity today as the UN General Assembly started in New York, while the Dominican Republic and Haiti have also committed to signing in the coming hours.

    “The leadership of the dozen countries who signed the Escazú Agreement today should serve as inspiration for the rest of the region and beyond,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. “We urge all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to promptly follow their example for the survival and wellbeing of current and future generations.” 

    September 23, 2019

    The measures taken by the government of President López Obrador to uncover the truth and ensure justice in the case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who were forcibly disappeared five years ago must soon translate into positive results, Amnesty International said today. Such measures also need to be replicated in the cases of the thousands of other disappearances in the country.

    “During the first four years of struggle, Amnesty International continually denounced the cover-up by the authorities in the Ayotzinapa case. Today we have seen initial efforts by the new government to resolve the case and we welcome this, although much remains to be done,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    September 19, 2019

    In reaction to the public statement by Under Secretary for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas announcing Mexico's intention to promptly accept the competence of the Committee against Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider cases of disappeared persons in Mexico, Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International's Americas Director, stated:

    "The Mexican government's announcement is an important sign of its willingness to achieve justice, truth, and reparation in cases of enforced disappearance in the country. This issue, which for years has cast a shadow over human rights in Mexico, requires all available efforts and resources to find a solution. Amnesty International looks forward to the prompt implementation of this decision and will continue to monitor the situation of disappeared persons in the country, aware that it will only change with a strong commitment from all authorities."

    September 05, 2019

    Seven years after the illegal detention and torture of Adrián Vásquez Lagunes at the hands of the Baja California State Police, authorities still have not compensated him or his family, said Amnesty International today.

    “The governor of Baja California has an opportunity to leave a legacy before he ends his term, ensuring that Adrián Vásquez and his family do not have to wait any longer for the justice they are owed,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Amnesty International documented and publicly denounced the case of Adrián Vásquez Lagunes when it occurred. He was detained by state police as he drove in Tijuana on 26 September 2012. During the 12 hours that he remained in police custody, he was subjected to threats, beatings, and near-asphyxiation – including by forcing water into his nose. Afterwards, police presented him to the media declaring that he was a known drug trafficker. Vásquez Lagunes spent three years in prison unjustly on false charges. He was released from prison in December 2015.

    September 04, 2019

    September 26 is an important date for defenders of human rights in Mexico and their allies around the world. It marks five years since police attacked buses carrying students from a rural teacher training college in Ayotzinapa. The police took 43 of the students away, never to be seen again. 

    Finding out what happened and bringing to justice everyone who played a role is obviously of tremendous importance to the families and classmates of the 43. 

    July 31, 2019

    Recent actions by various state governments in Mexico are jeopardizing freedom of expression and assembly in the country and could be a step towards criminalizing the defence of human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    In the state of Tabasco, state deputies approved a reform that criminalizes public demonstrations. It provides for lengthy prison terms for actions opposing any public or private project or works and for obstructing roads or other means of communication.

    “The reform in Tabasco would allow the government and the private sector to impose megaprojects and deprive local people of a voice to oppose them if they are affected. This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression. In addition, people wanting to exercise their right to peaceful assembly would be criminalized,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    Amnesty International believes that the restrictions set out in the bill are so broadly framed that people would effectively no longer be able to meet and freely express their views about government-approved projects.

    May 22, 2019

    The Mexican Congress is preparing to approve a package of laws on public security that are contrary to international law and that would put at risk the human rights of the population and undermine the security strategy of the new government, Amnesty International said today.

    “If Congress passes this legislation, the National Guard will become an all-powerful security force, without independent scrutiny and with dangerous powers, such as the authority to detain migrants and to use force against public demonstrations it does not deem to be legitimate,” said Tania Reneaum, executive director of Amnesty International Mexico.

    On Tuesday, 21 May, the Mexican Senate approved four laws on security as part of a legislative arrangement to create a new National Guard supported by the federal government. Although the new laws contain some positive measures on human rights protection, they also include a series of challenges and serious flaws that could lead to an increase in abuses in a country that has been plagued for more than a decade by security crises and human rights violations.

    May 17, 2019

    The first known death of a child detained by Mexican migration authorities under the current presidential administration is a sickening tragedy that demands answers from a government that promised to be more humane to migrants and refugees, said Amnesty International today.

    “At a time when children are dying in United States migration custody on the other side of the border, President López Obrador’s government is overseeing a crackdown on migrants and refugees that is resulting in the careless treatment of human lives. This suggests an alarming parallel with the current approach of the Trump government,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    On 16 May, Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) announced that a 10-year-old Guatemalan girl died in hospital, where she was transferred after arriving at Mexico City’s migration detention centre in the company of her mother two days earlier, complaining of a sore throat. INM had brought her back from the northern border state of Chihuahua via bus, a trip of nearly 20 hours.

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