April 19, 2014
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PBI Mexico: UN Subcommittee takes in Oaxaca a follow-up visit on prevention of torture

Paulina Corominas (CIDH), Sylvia Díaz (APT), Nora Martínez (Barca-DH), Victor Rodriguez Rescia (SPT), Jorge Anrdés Mansilla Montellano (Reinserción Social Oaxaca) y Silvano Cantú (CMDPDH) © PBI Mexico

Oaxaca, Oax:- On 1 and 2 February, members of the United Nations Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture visited Oaxaca. The meeting established a dialogue between authorities and civil society organisations in order to promote the prevention of torture was carried out in Oaxaca. The event took place as part of the follow-up to the United Nations Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture's (SPT) visit to Oaxaca in August of 2008.

As a result, in June 2009 the SPT made known to the Mexican State various recommendations for the prevention of torture. The SPT's report contains some 122 recommendations pertaining to training of public servants, judicial reform, public policy, access to justice, conditions of detention, and cooperation between the Mexican State and international mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

Present at the event were Víctor Rodríguez Rescia, member of the SPT, and Paulina Corominas, representative of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, based in Washington, D.C. The dialogue between the authorities and civil society, on 1 and 2 February, was organised jointly by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), based in Geneva and Panama; Benito Juárez Autonomous University of Oaxaca, and two Oaxacan organisations: Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos "Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño" (BARCA-DH - Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño Regional Centre for Human Rights), and Centro de Derechos Humanos y Asesoría a los Pueblos Indígenas (CEDHAPI - Centre for Human Rights and Legal Assistance to Indigenous Peoples), both of which are accompanied by PBI.

The forum was concluded by a public event in which the agreements and commitments reached after the two days of work were presented. Various declarations were made during the event, which was chaired by Minerva Nora Martínez Lázaro, coordinator of BARCA-DH. Among others, Jorge Andrés Mansilla Montellando, Director General of Social Reintegration in Oaxaca expressed his commitment to prevent torture in Oaxacan detention centres.

However, various civil society organisations expressed their concerns relating to the practice of preventive detention. Silvano Cantú, a representative of the Mexican Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights, declared in this regard that "The authorities now have an opportunity to mark a 'before' and 'after'. Preventive detention is an open door to torture; if, indeed, it has been officially stopped in Oaxaca, only in two of the seven regions of the State has it been eliminated effectively. Moreover, in other regions, it's use has been duplicated."

The SPT visited Oaxaca in accordance with Articles 1 and 11 of the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), an international instrument which the Mexican State ratified in 2005 and which came into effect on 22 June 2006. The Optional Protocol establishes the SPT as an international organism charged with monitoring detention facilities and making recommendations thereon.

During the visit in 2008, members of the SPT, along with representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), visited the offices of the Municipal Preventive Police, the offices of the State Attorney General of Justice, prisons and psychiatric hospitals, among others.


More information

Press Release Barca-DH (in Spanish)

Report of the Mexican Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights : Impact in México of the judicial figure of "arraigo" in Human Rights (in Spanish)

Report on the visit of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to Mexico

PBI's acompaniment to members of CEDHAPI and Barca-DH


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