On 9 November, the UN Human Rights Council issued recommendations to Mexico to improve the independence of torture investigations conducted by the Procuraduría General de la República (the Attorney General’s Office). These follow recommendations from Mexican civil society that independence is key to ensure that perpetrators are sanctioned and torture victims can get justice and reparation.
As the new Government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office on 1 December, it will have three months to let the UN Human Rights Council know how it intends to implement the recommendations. This will provide an early indication of its willingness to improve how it responds to allegations of torture and ensure support to victims. It is also an opportunity to build a more constructive working relationship with national and international human rights organisations who have long advocated for real and measurable improvements for victims.
The Colectivo Contra la Torture y Impunidad (CCTI), IRCT’s member in Mexico, are a leading promotor of quality and independent torture investigation. Discussion their expectations of the new Government, CCTI Coordinator, Javier Enriquez Sam, observed “It is essential that the new Government takes the time necessary to develop appropriate new human rights initiatives. Reform of the Procuraduría General de la República should take the time necessary to effectively guarantee its independence. Similarly, the initiative to create a new national guard should ensure that its members are civilian police and that they are effectively held accountable under the General law on torture before the country’s civilian courts. Otherwise, these initiatives will not create the change the country needs.”
The recommendations were issued by the Universal Periodic Review (a mechanism where States review each other’s human rights record) where the State’s complete human rights record is examined. In this context, a number of countries specifically focused on problems related to independence of torture investigations and specifically recommended that Mexico should create an autonomous and fully independent Procuraduría General de la República and ensure that victims get justice and reparation.
In March 2019, the new government will be reporting back to the UN Human Rights Council on how it intends to implement the recommendations. Subsequently, the Government will appear before two UN expert panels who will focus their discussion and recommendations on concrete initiatives to improve Mexico’s record on torture.
“The IRCT has a long history of support to the fight against torture in Mexico and we look forward to seeing the Government’s response to these recommendations and assessing how we can best contribute to a better situation for all torture victims in Mexico”, said Asger Kjaerum, Advocacy Director at the IRCT.
More information about the UPR of Mexico: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/MXindex.aspx
Learn more about CCTI's work to support torture victims in Mexico: