The toxic combination of a flawed judicial system, untrained police officers and widespread impunity are encouraging arbitrary detentions and leading to torture, executions and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said in a new report today.
False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico demonstrates how police across Mexico routinely detain people arbitrarily in order to extort them. They also often plant evidence in an effort to prove they are doing something to tackle crime or to punish individuals for their human rights activism. The report is based on confidential interviews with members of the police and the justice system.
“The justice system in Mexico is completely unfit for purpose and is therefore failing the people massively,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
An already dangerous journey for tens of thousands of refugees has become deadlier thanks to President Trump’s Executive Order on border control and immigration as well as entrenched reckless practices in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report based on intensive investigations on both sides of the border.
Facing Walls: USA and Mexico’s violation of the rights of asylum seekers explores the catastrophic impact of a catalogue of new policies and ongoing practices that result in unlawful push-backs of asylum seekers at the USA-Mexico border, and threaten to unlawfully lock up thousands more families, including babies and children, in immigration detention centres in the USA.
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.
By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner for Amnesty International Canada
The hug, the smiling faces outside the barbed wire perimeter of El Hongo Prison, tell this latest good news story from Mexico!
Adrián Vásquez is free from a nightmare of torture and unjust imprisonment – free, at last, to return to his wife Judith and their family.
Adrián’s release came in the early morning of December 2nd, more than three years after he was picked up by police in Tijuana and tortured so badly that he required life-saving surgery. The 33-year-old bus driver and father of four was driving his car when police pulled him over, accused him of being a notorious drug trafficker driving a stolen vehicle. Their “evidence” alone was used to charge and imprison Adrián for three anguished years while his trial was ongoing.
Hours after Adrián’s release, there was more good news!
By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner with Amnesty International Canada
There’s good news and bad news, as the old saying goes.
The good news has names like Ángel Colón (left) and Claudia Medina (below right). Both of them were tortured by Mexican security forces to extract ‘confessions’ but ultimately released from that nightmare, the unjust charges against them dropped, after Amnesty supporters flooded authorities with messages of concern.
There have been other promising developments since Amnesty issued a damning report in September 2014 entitled Out of Control: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Mexico.
By HyunGu Kang, Amnesty International Canada Youth Leader
On a sunny Sunday in late September, Amnesty Toronto’s Youth Leadership Council hosted our first public event in Toronto’s popular Kensington Market.
On the one hand, we were terrified. This was the first time we’d be representing Amnesty to non-members, and we were eager to do a good job. On the other, we were resolved.
It was one year since 43 students “disappeared” after being taken away by police in Mexico – one year in which authorities did far too little to find the missing students and seemed intent, instead, on a shameful cover-up. We knew this was unacceptable, and we wanted the public to know it, too.
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.
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!
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.
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.
By Kathy Price, Mexico Campaigner
The photos arrived in a steady stream on my Facebook feed, a flood of images too numerous to include here - impossible to ignore. From the wide boulevards of Mexico’s capital to the streets of small towns across the country, women and men, young and old, thousands and thousands of them, marched in protest, united in their outrage about what was done in Guerrero State.
Their names are Héctor, Brenda Karina, Jorge Antonio, Dan Jeremeel … The list goes on and on.
Some were last seen being taken away by military or police, like the 43 students of Ayotzinapa. Others left their homes but never arrived where they were going. All disappeared, never to be seen again.
It’s nothing less than an epidemic, concludes Amnesty’s latest report. More than 30,000 people are now missing, at least half of them reported during the current government of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Families desperate to find their loved ones meet with indifference or hostility from officials whose ‘investigations’ are destined from the start to lead nowhere.
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 ]
Come check out Amnesty International's table at the Mexican community's vibrant, traditional, artistic celebration of Day of the Dead in Toronto.
Sign our petitions and help create a massive, colourful montage of Monarch butterflies in support of 43 missing students and more than 28,000 others disappeared in Mexico.
Amnesty International thanks the Dia de los Muertos Collective for the invitation to collaborate on this event and help make visible the human rights crisis in Mexico.
From 4 pm to 10 pm