Juan E. Méndez, Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la Tortura (@Naciones Unidas)

Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture (@UN)

On 9 March, Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading Treatment, presented the report based on his visit to Mexico between April and May 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.  In his conclusions, he mentions that “torture and ill-treatment of the incarcerated after their arrest and prior to their presentation to the justice system are generalized phenomena in Mexico which take place within the context of impunity.”  He added that there is evidence of the active participation of police and military forces, “but also tolerance, indifference, or complicity on the part of some doctors, public defenders, prosecutors, and judges.”  He indicated furthermore that torture is used “to punish the arrested and to extract confessions or incriminating information.”  He highlighted moreover that “the impunity of torture and other abuses is sufficient to lead to its repetition and exacerbation.”

For this reason, the Special Rapporteur recommended legislative reforms that would integrate international standards into domestic law, thus effectively preventing and punishing torture and other abuses, as well as to undertake the investigation of all denunciations that are presented, including “the tasks that remain in terms of the Dirty War.”  He recommended also that the dimension of the phenomenon be publicly recognized, and that all the authorities receive strong public pressure insisting that all abuses will be seriously investigated and punished.

Following the presentation of this report, Jorge Lomónaco, Mexican representative before international organizations, affirmed that “we cannot agree with the view that torture is generalized in the country, because that is not the case in reality.”  He added that what the Special Rapporteur claimed “does not reflect the enormous efforts that my country’s government has made to strengthen a culture of respect for human rights in the law and in practice.”