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Mexico

    May 19, 2017
    Journalists in Mexico protested this May 16 against the killing of one of their colleagues and called on the government to take action.

    By Erika Guevara-Rosas

    The tragic news of the brutal murder of Javier Valdez Cárdenas, a Mexican journalist renowned for his fearless reporting of the drug war wreaking havoc across Mexico, has sent shockwaves through the country.

    His journalism was particularly well-known in his home town of Culiacán, in Sinaloa. There, thousands of people are virtual hostages of a war between ruthless drug cartels and a government that is at best, unable to protect its people and, at worse, in collusion with those it claims to be fighting against.

    Javier was gunned down by unidentified men near the office of Riodoce, the weekly newspaper he founded and one of the few in the state still reporting on the wave of deaths sweeping through the area.

    May 16, 2017

    The killing of a journalist in Mexico - the fifth such incident this year -highlights the alarming situation of freedom of expression in the country, said Amnesty International.

    Javier Valdez Cárdenas, founder of Río Doce media and reporter for La Jornada and El Noroeste, was shot dead a few metres away from his office in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa. Javier was known for his work covering organized crime and drug trafficking. In 2011, he received an international prize for press freedom from the Committee to Protect Journalists. This is the second assassination of a journalist from La Jornada in 2017.

    “Being a journalist in Mexico seems more like a death sentence than a profession. The continuing bloodshed that the authorities prefer to ignore has created a deep void that is damaging the right to freedom of expression in the country,” said Tania Reneaum, director of Amnesty International Mexico.

    May 12, 2017

    The killing of an activist leading the search for her daughter and thousands of others in Tamaulipas, Mexico, reveals the danger which those searching for the more than 30,000 disappeared persons in the country face every day, said Amnesty International.

    Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez was killed on the night of 10 May in the state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico. Miriam was known for her work with groups searching for the disappeared, organizations made up primarily of relatives of victims of enforced disappearance and disappearance at the hands of non-state actors.

    April 27, 2017

    A bill on enforced disappearances approved today by the Mexican Senate could represent a step forward in the fight to tackle the country’s human rights crisis. Now all that is needed for the bill to become law is the approval of the Chamber of Deputies.

    “The definitive approval of the bill on enforced disappearances is crucial in order to begin to seriously address the nightmare which thousands of families face, searching for their loved ones in the face of serious risks and carrying out work which is the responsibility of the authorities”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “This bill is a welcome advance, although there is room for improvement. It will come into existence within the context of a deficient search system and its implementation will require serious political commitment to grant justice, truth and reparation to the many families who have dedicated years to searching for their relatives”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

    April 27, 2017

    Mexico’s new General Law on Torture is a welcome step forward to tackle the country´s human rights crisis. Authorities must now ensure all those responsible for these heinous crimes under international law face justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Mexican Congress today finally passed the General Law on Torture which was promised over two years ago by the Mexican president after a national public outcry following massive human rights violations in the case of 43 disappeared students. The Mexican Senate today approved a final version which had been debated by both chambers of Congress.

    “Unless the Mexican authorities make a real effort to ensure all those responsible for the thousands of cases of torture reported every year across the country are brought to justice, this law will be nothing but words on paper. We must not allow this to continue to be the case,” said Tania Reneaum, Director at Amnesty International Mexico.

    Torture is a widespread practice in Mexico. People are routinely tortured in an attempt to force them to sign false “confessions”.

    April 26, 2017

    A call for appeals to improve the General Law on Torture was sent to the Urgent Action Network on January 16th 2017.

    On 19 April the lower house of Mexican congress approved their version of the General Law on Torture and sent it back to the Senate for final approval before it becomes law. This final version is an improvement of the earlier draft, and all of the four regressive articles Amnesty International was concerned about have been improved upon.

     

    A General Law on Torture was drafted during 2015 and 2016 and presented in the Senate due to pressure from civil society given the widespread problem of torture in Mexico. This law will replace the existing federal and state laws on the issue and apply nationwide.

    April 11, 2017

    An Amnesty International team recently returned from the US-Mexico border where they investigated how President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security threaten to affect thousands of people. 

    This is what they found.

    What did you find at the border? 

    We spent almost two weeks visiting towns and cities on both sides of the US-Mexico border, talking to migrants, asylum seekers, human rights activists and government officials. We travelled the entire length of the land border, something that no other international human rights organization has done since Trump took office. We knew this was essential to get a clear picture of what was happening in what has become one of the most talked-about places on earth. 

    We were surprised by what we found. 

    Most places were quiet – but the kind of edgy quiet before a big storm kicks in. Because President Trump’s executive orders are setting the scene for what could turn into a full-blown refugee crisis. 

    April 11, 2017

    By Madeleine Penman, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International

    The sight of one of the most infamous borders on earth – roughly 1,000 kilometers of porous metal fence dividing lives, hopes and dreams between the USA and Mexico, is undoubtedly overwhelming, but not in the way we expected it to be.

    While it has been one of the most talked about issues since last year’s USA election campaign, the stretch of land that separates the USA and Mexico now lies eerily quiet.

    March 24, 2017

    The killing of the third journalist in a month in Mexico raises new alarms about the state of free expression in the country, said Amnesty International. 

    Miroslava Breach, a reporter for La Jornada and el Norte de Juarez, was shot dead while she was in her car outside her home in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Miroslava was known for reporting on issues including organised crime and drug trafficking. 

    “In Mexico a ‘war’ is raging against journalists. The country has turned into a no-go zone for anyone brave enough to talk about issues including the increasing power of organised crime and the collusion of these groups with the authorities,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Journalism should not be a life threatening profession. Instead of looking the other way and ignoring this bloodshed, the Mexican authorities must take concrete measures to protect journalists and anyone daring to talk about the country’s ills. This crime should be urgently investigated and those responsible, brought to justice.”

    February 03, 2017

    Indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos has been killed. Amnesty International fears for the safety of others in his community, especially as some family members were violently attacked during the leader's capture.

     

    On 1 February, Indigenous leader Juan Ontiveros Ramos was found dead in Chihuahua State, northern Mexico. Unknown men forcibly took from his home the day before and brutally beat other members of his family during the attack. Inhabitants of the Choréachi community remain at risk.

     

    On 31 January, unidentified armed men broke into the family home of Juan Ontiveros Ramos in Guadalupe y Calvo municipality, beat him and other family members and forcibly took him away. Witnesses heard gunshots immediately after. On 1 February, Juan Ontiveros’ body was found elsewhere in the same municipality.

     

    November 17, 2016

    The release from prison of three women who were subjected to rape and other forms of tortured in 2011 by marines to force them to “confess” to crimes brings a glimmer of hope to hundreds of others who are held behind bars unfairly across Mexico, said Amnesty International.

    Denise Lovato, Korina Urtrera and Wendy Díaz each spent more than five years in prison. They walked out of jail in the State of Morelos this morning after a judged acquitted them and ordered their immediate release.

    “Denise, Korina and Wendy should have never been imprisoned in the first place. Their harrowing stories show the tragic state of human rights in Mexico, where security forces routinely sexually abuse women to secure ‘confessions’ in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The stories of Denise, Korina and Wendy are featured in a recent groundbreaking Amnesty International investigation into the use of torture and other sexual violence against women in Mexico. 

    September 26, 2016

    By Kathy Price

    This commentary was first published on iPolitics 

    It was an unusual but defining image: two smiling heads of state jogging together across an Ottawa bridge in shorts and t-shirts.

    September 22, 2016

    Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s cynical response to the enforced disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero two years ago illustrates the Mexican government’s ongoing reckless approach to human rights, Amnesty International said.

    “The Ayotzinapa tragedy has exposed how President Peña Nieto’s administration will stop at nothing to cover up human rights violations taking place under their watch in Mexico,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

    “From failing to stop the attack against the students, to preventing international efforts to uncover the truth, to brushing off any complaints over the way this investigation has been handled, authorities in Mexico have done all they can to obstruct justice and protect their image.”

    The 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College were forcibly forcibly disappeared on the night of 26 September 2014 after they were arrested by municipal police while preparing to participate in a demonstration in Mexico City to commemorate the 2 October 1968 massacre of students. 

    August 13, 2016

    The release of a Mexican environmental activist, and prisoner of conscience, who was unfairly imprisoned nine months ago in what seems to be punishment for his peaceful activism against illegal logging is a triumph for justice and human rights, Amnesty International said.

    Ildefonso Zamora Baldomero was arrested in November 2015 in the Indigenous Tlahuica community of San Juan Atzingo, 80km south-west of Mexico City. He was accused of participating in a burglary in July 2012.

    The criminal charges against Ildefonso Zamora were based on fabricated evidence. A federal judge decided there was no basis to believe he was responsible of any crime and even doubted the crime even existed.

    “Campaigning against illegal logging is not a crime. Instead of prosecuting environmental activists for their peaceful activities, the Mexican authorities should ensure they are able to carry out their legitimate work without fear of reprisals,” said Carlos Zazueta, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International.

    July 22, 2016

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner at Amnesty International Canada

    They are bright and beautiful, they are eye-catching, and they carry a powerful message – a message of concern, solidarity and enormous caring. 

    Amnesty supporters in communities, big and small, from all across Canada are creating butterfly messages to make visible how they feel about a shocking epidemic of disappearances in Mexico, as well as threats to the safety of family members seeking the return of their loved ones.

    Monarch butterflies unite Mexico and Canada. Their annual life-giving migration across borders makes them the perfect symbol for Canadians to express our support for Mexican families courageously confronting an agonizing, hidden crisis.
     

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