Annual Report: Mexico 2011

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Mexico 2011

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Despite the 2009 judgement by the Inter-American Court, the government failed to take effective measures to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the abduction and killing of three women in Ciudad Juárez in 2001 (the Cotton Field case) or to combat the ongoing pattern of violence against women and discrimination in the city. More than 300 women were killed during the year. The bodies of at least 30 victims bore injuries suggesting that they had suffered sexual violence and torture. Few perpetrators were held to account. In December, Marisela Escobedo was shot and killed by a gunman outside the governor's palace in Chihuahua City during a protest to demand justice for her daughter who was murdered in Ciudad Juárez in 2008.

An SCJN ruling was pending on suits challenging the constitutionality of amendments to 17 state constitutions guaranteeing the legal right to life from the moment of conception. In another case, the SCJN ruled that state governments were obliged to comply with national health professional procedures when providing services to women victims of violence, including the provision of emergency contraception.

Indigenous Peoples' rights

Indigenous communities continued to have unequal access to justice, health, education and other rights and services. Government authorities failed to engage effectively with Indigenous communities to improve the protection of their rights and access to services. Despite government commitments to reduce maternal mortality, inadequate health services continued to contribute to disproportionately high levels of maternal deaths among Indigenous women in southern states.

  • In April, prisoners of conscience Alberta Alcántara and Teresa González were released from prison after the SCJN ruled that their conviction was unsafe. The two Indigenous women, both from Santiago Mexquititlán, Querétaro state, had spent three years in prison falsely accused of kidnapping federal police officers.
  • The local government failed to prevent armed groups laying siege to San Juan Copala in the Indigenous Triqui region of Oaxaca state. As a result, sections of the community were denied access to basic heath care, food, water and education services for several months.

International scrutiny

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued judgements against Mexico for grave human rights violations in the cases of Inés Fernández and Valentina Rosendo, two Indigenous women raped by soldiers in 2002, and Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, two environmentalists tortured in 1999 by the army in Guerrero state and imprisoned and convicted of spurious criminal charges. The Court ordered Mexico to recognize its responsibility, provide reparations to the victims, and ensure effective investigation of those responsible by the civilian authorities. The Mexican government promised to comply, but at the end of the year these judgements - and two others from 2009 - remained largely unimplemented.

In March, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a series of recommendations to the Mexican government after reviewing its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

There were visits by the UN Special Rapporteurs on education and on the independence of judges and lawyers, and a joint visit by the UN and OAS Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression. In May, the government was forced to make public a 2008 report by the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture.