Press Release

IACHR Deplores Violent Deaths in Mexican Penitentiary

May 2, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern over the violent death of at least 13 persons at the Center for Social Re-adaptation for Adults (CERESO) No. 1 of the city San Luis Potosí, capital of the State of the same name, in Mexico. The IACHR urges the State of Mexico to implement the necessary measures to prevent the repetition of similar incidents, and to investigate and punish the perpetrators.

According to information of the Attorney General’s Office of the State, 13 inmates died and 65 were injured in a violent confrontation at the CERESO No. 1 (“La Pila”) of San Luis Potosí. According to Government sources, the fight took place when a group of inmates, tired of the harassment from another group, violently entered in the areas where these were sleeping. According to journalistic reports, the authorities allegedly had knowldege of the existence of tensions between both groups.

In view of these facts, the IACHR reiterates that States, as guarantors of the rights of persons deprived of liberty, have the fundamental obligation to ensure the control and internal security of prisons. Proper control by the authorities of internal order inside prisons is an essential condition in order to guarantee the human rights of persons deprived of liberty.

Likewise, States have the obligation to investigate, on its own initiative and with due diligence, all deaths of persons under its custody. These investigations must not only aim to establish the material perpetrators of the crimes, but also the possible intellectual authors, and any degree of responsibility that the authorities might have, either by action or omission.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 30/13