Annual Report: Mexico 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Mexico 2013

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  • In April and May, four journalists were killed in Veracruz state: Regina Martínez, correspondent for the investigative magazine Proceso; and local photojournalists Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna and Esteban Rodríguez. Those responsible had not been brought to justice by the end of the year despite state and federal level investigations.
  • In February, Lucila Bettina Cruz was arbitrarily arrested in Santa María Xadani, Oaxaca state, as she left a meeting with members of the Federal Electricity Commission. She was charged with illegally detaining public officials, but was later released on bail. She had been participating in peaceful protests by local Indigenous Peoples whose lands were affected by wind-farm construction.

Indigenous Peoples' rights

Indigenous Peoples in different regions of the country continued to suffer high levels of exclusion and discrimination, with limited access to many essential services. They were often denied their right to free, prior and informed consent on development and resources projects affecting their traditional lands. The criminal justice system routinely denied Indigenous people fair trial guarantees and effective redress.

One area of progress was the review of emblematic cases by the SCJN.

  • In October, the SCJN overturned the conviction and ordered the release of Hugo Sánchez Ramírez, a young Indigenous taxi driver from Mexico state, who had been wrongly imprisoned for a kidnapping in 2007 after state police and prosecutors fabricated evidence against him.
  • In November, the SCJN overturned the convictions of José Ramón Aniceto Gómez and Pascual Agustín Cruz and ordered their release. The two Indigenous human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience from Alta, Puebla state, had been falsely accused of stealing a car in 2009 and were denied a fair trial. They had been convicted in July 2010 on fabricated criminal charges in reprisal for extending water access in their community.
  • Alberto Patishtan, an Indigenous man convicted for killing seven policemen in Chiapas state in 2000, remained in prison pending the outcome of his legal petition to the SCJN against his conviction. Amnesty International raised with the SCJN its concerns that he had been denied the right to a fair trial leading to an unsafe conviction.
  • The Wixárika continued to campaign for an end to mining concessions in their ancestral pilgrimage sites in the Wirikuta, San Luis Potosí state. The government promised to create a biodiversity park to protect part of the land, but by the end of the year the Wixárika had not been adequately consulted on the project.

Discrimination and violence against women and girls

Violence against women and girls, including beatings, rape, abduction and murder, was widespread in many states. Legislation to prevent and punish violence was not enforced effectively and the training of officials on dealing appropriately with gender-based crimes was not adequately monitored to ensure compliance. Despite commitments to improve investigation of gender-based violence, new police investigation protocols were not introduced during the year and perpetrators usually evaded justice. Protection orders remained inoperative in many states and victims faced continued threats. The government's public security policy and high levels of criminal violence reportedly led some authorities to pay less attention to gender-based violence. Some states introduced the crime of “feminicide”(gender-based killing of women), but much state level legislation continued to be inconsistent with international human rights obligations.