31 May 2002
Technical Cooperation Programme in Mexico

The three-year Second Phase of the Technical Cooperation Programme between the Mexican Government and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was signed on Monday 22 April. The Second Phase gives the IRCT the responsibility for the elaboration of training manuals and the training of health professionals and law enforcement personnel in the principles of investigating alleged cases of torture. The other three components of the Second Phase of the Programme are human rights mapping, strengthening of the National Human Rights Commission, and indigenous peoples' rights.

In relation to the human rights mapping, the IRCT was recently invited to participate in an international seminar in Mexico on identifying human rights indicators. The seminar was arranged by the National Human Rights Commission and formed part of the Montreux Process. This is an initiative launched in September 2000 with the aim of using statistics for measuring the implementation of human rights standards in a given country and promoting a multi-disciplinary dialogue to this end.

In addition, the IRCT is promoting an initiative for ad hoc visits to detention centres by NGOs and members of the Mexican human rights commissions to assess the prevalence of torture in high-risk areas. This initiative would further contribute to the prevention of torture, the mapping of the torture situation, and the establishment of a system of national accountability, which has long been a priority for the IRCT.

The IRCT is also collaborating with independent forensic experts regarding the case of Guillermo Vélez Mendoza, who died in police custody in March this year. The family of the deceased requested the IRCT to provide an expert opinion on the cause of death, amid allegations that the deceased was tortured to death by police, and the fact that three different autopsies issued deliver three different conclusions.

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