Press Release

IACHR Decides to Publish Merits Report concerning Mexico’s Compliance with Recommendations

December 7, 2015

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Report No. 80/15 (Also available in Word)

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Director
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001

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Washington, D.C. - On October 28, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a Report on Merits in the case of J.S.C.H. and M.G.S., whose identities have been withheld at the request of the petitioners, in which it concluded that the State had fully complied with the recommendations made by the IACHR regarding reparations and non-repetition measures.

The facts of the case involve the violation of the right to equal protection, as well as the right to protection of honor and dignity, to the detriment of J.S.C.H. and M.G.S., given the fact that they were discharged from the Mexican Army for having the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) without an individual assessment to determine the degree to which their health had been affected and the concrete effects of the condition on the performance of their duties. In addition, information about their state of health was disclosed to individuals in the armed forces who were outside the medical sphere. Finally, the internal proceedings carried out constituted a violation of the victims’ right to a fair trial and due process guarantees.

In the Merits Report approved in 2011, the IACHR developed standards on the non-discrimination of persons living with HIV and also recommended that the Mexican State provide the victims in this case with such comprehensive health services as they may require and make complete reparation to the victims, both material and moral, including measures to compensate the damage caused and to reinstate them into the armed forces should the victims so desire. The IACHR also established in the Merits Report that the Mexican Armed Forces Social Security Law (ISSFAM) in force should be compatible with the State’s obligations in respect of the rights established in Articles 1.1, 11, and 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and that specifically it should clarify that testing positive for HIV does not automatically restrict the ability to perform military functions.

Once the IACHR had sent the Merits Report to the State and to the petitioners, on March 24, 2012, the parties signed an agreement on compliance with the recommendations in the case. Through its follow-up mechanism, the IACHR verified that the State has guaranteed the victims access to comprehensive health care services. It also reinstated them into the Army and compensated them for monetary and non-monetary damages. Finally, the Mexican State amended the Mexican Armed Forces Social Security Law to establish, among other things, that testing positive for HIV may only serve as grounds for discharge if it results in a loss of functionality for performing actions in the line of duty, and to exclude all interpretations that would presume that the mere fact of living with HIV automatically entails such a loss. Moreover, in compliance with the agreement signed with the petitioners, on July 24, 2015, the State held a public ceremony of acknowledgement of responsibility.

The IACHR welcomes the Mexican State’s full compliance with the recommendations. Full compliance with the decisions of the IACHR is an essential element to ensure the full exercise of human rights in the OAS Member States and to contribute to strengthening the inter-American system for the protection of human rights.

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. 142/15