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Mexico

    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.

    June 03, 2013

    The new report Confronting a Nightmare - Disappearances in Mexico launched on June 4th, 2013, in Mexico City. The report addresses:

    Current situation of disappearances and enforced disappearances in the context of a rise in violent crime and human rights violations in the last few years Who are committing the crimes Who the victims are and the impact on families Risk for Human Right Defenders and relatives Impunity for virtually all cases What the Mexican government is doing on this What must be done For more information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter Communications - Media Officer Amnesty International Canada 416-363-9933 ext 332
    March 12, 2013

    Routine abductions, sexual violence, forced recruitment into criminal gangs, people trafficking and murder of migrants are normal events in the lives of the tens of thousands of irregular migrants that cross Mexico every year and, according to Amnesty International, impunity for these grave abuses is the norm.

    The government of Enrique Peña Nieto, which last Sunday completed a hundred days in office, has not so far taken any steps to correct the abject failure of the previous administration to deal with this humanitarian crisis.

    “Once again, the fate of irregular migrants in Mexico appears to be reduced to a side issue,” said Rupert Knox, Amnesty International’s researcher on Mexico.

    “Yet migrants’ shelters and human rights defenders have told Amnesty International of an increasing flow of migrants and an escalation in attacks on them and those working for their rights.”

    March 05, 2013

    The people behind the killing of journalist Jaime González Domínguez in Ojinaga, Mexico on 3 March 2013 must be brought to justice, Amnesty International said.

    Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez, journalist and editor of the local electronic media outlet, Ojinaga Noticias, was shot and killed by a group of armed men who fired 18 bullets into his body before stealing his camera.

    As a result of his murder and the potential risk to other colleagues, Ojinaga Noticias ceased operations.

    The repeated killing of journalists in recent years, which can only have been encouraged by the prevailing impunity for such crimes, has had a direct impact on reporting in Mexico.

    Journalists and media workers have been left at grave risk and this has had a chilling effect on media coverage of violence and security issues, particularly in northern states.

    It is essential that prompt, full and effective investigation is conducted into the killing of Jaime González Domínguez and that other journalists operating in the region are provided with protection.

    March 05, 2013

    As President Enrique Peña Nieto completes 100 days in office, the few measures his government has taken on human rights simply do not match the gravity of the situation that Mexico is experiencing.

    “There are worrying signs that this government is failing to give sufficient priority to the protection of human rights. It must make a clear break with the previous administration’s empty human rights promises and deliver on ending impunity for abuses,” said Javier Zúñiga, Amnesty International special adviser.

    In December, Amnesty International’s Secretary General wrote to the new president to ask for immediate action on a range of serious issues - to date there has not been a substantive response.

    The organization called for a radical change to public security policy to ensure the end of grave abuses such as torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearances and for perpetrators to face justice.

    Peña Nieto made commitments to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee on Torture in November 2012, but so far there is little evidence of the actions needed.

    January 10, 2013

    Concrete measures are needed to back up a new law aimed at guaranteeing the rights of victims of crime and human rights abuses in the ongoing violence resulting from the struggle against organized crime in Mexico, Amnesty International said.

    Mexico’s new President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the General Victims’ Law (Ley General de Víctimas) into effect on Wednesday.

    Since 2006, more than 60,000 people have been killed and thousands have disappeared in the violence by organized crime and as a result of security force operations. The victims and their relatives have frequently been ignored and are routinely denied access to justice.

    The efforts of Mexican NGOs – including victims of the violence themselves – have been crucial to the measure’s passage, and they are hopeful it will ensure victims are treated with respect, crimes are investigated and compensation is paid to help stop similar abuses from being repeated in the future.

    Join us for a thought-provoking presentation by visiting Mexican human rights defender Míguel Alvarez Gándara. Míguel works with the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre in Chiapas and the peace-building organization Serapaz. He is a highly respected spokesperson for Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which has publicized the names and photos of thousands of victims killed during the government’s war on drugs. Míguel will also talk about efforts to support the families of 43 disappeared students from a teachers college in Ayotzinapa in their quest for truth and justice.

    The event will offer an opportunity to add your voice to Amnesty’s Butterflies for Mexico Action Campaign - see www.amnesty.ca/butterflies.

    When: Tuesday May 10 from 7:00 to 8:45 PM

    Where: Mary Ward Centre, 70 St Mary Street, Toronto  [ West of Bay St. + South of Charles St. - Bay or Museum subway stops ]

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