Alert: How Turkey weaponizes anti-terror laws to silence human rights defenders

Mexico: torture epidemic at the hands of the State must stop

Press release | 24 April 2019

Geneva/Mexico City – As the UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT) is about to review Mexico, a large consortium of human rights activists has raised the alarm about the high numbers of torture and rape cases at the hands of the security forces, most of which have gone unpunished.

“We have come to Geneva to tell the experts on the UNCAT that torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial executions by agents of the State are a brutal reality in today’s Mexico”, said Stephanie Brewer, International Coordinator at Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh). “More often than not, arrests result in physical violence, including electrical shocks, sexual violence, and other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment. Until now, impunity has reigned supreme.”

According to a new report, out of 8,335 torture investigations, the Federal SpecialProsecutor’s office reported in 2018 that it had brought charges in only 17cases. The army and the Navy have been identified as the worst offenders. One survey quoted in the report shows that arrest by the Army carries an 86% risk of torture, while imprisoned women arrested by the Navy report being raped in41% of cases.

“Until now, the new government under President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador has kept quiet on this torture epidemic”, said Olga Arnaiz Zhuravleva, Advocacy Coordinator at Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos” (Red TdT).

“Worse, new laws, which include the creation of a militarised National Guard, are likely to increase the incidence of torture. The authorities must act swiftly and decisively to tackle the entrenched and systematic use of torture in Mexico, by implementing the anti-torture law passed in June 2017, starting by constructing the law’s National Anti-Torture Program with civil society”, stated Olga Guzmán Vergara, Advocacy Director at Comisión Mexicana para laDefensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH).

Mexico will be reviewed by UNCAT from 25 to 26 April 2019. The report, authored by over 120 Mexican and international human rights organisations, covers the period from 2012 to 2018. It details emblematic cases and paints a pattern of abuse that targets in particular the poor, women, migrants, indigenous peoples and human rights defenders. The report can be found at this link (English and Spanish).

For more information, please contact

In Mexico: Quetzalcoatl g. Fontanot, Comunicación Red TDT,,mobile: +52 1 5517966731, office +52 55239992

In Switzerland: Iolanda Jaquemet, World Organisation against Torture, mobile +41 79 539 4106


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