Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Important Progress against Torture in Mexico

July 18, 2017

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Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the entry into force in Mexico of the General Law to Prevent, Investigate and Punish Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This important legislation brings to fruition the efforts of the Mexican State in its entirety to eliminate this practice, which violates human rights. The law was published on June 26 in the context of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The IACHR calls on State authorities to adopt all necessary measures to ensure the effective implementation of this law.

The practice of torture in Mexico has been an issue of concern to the IACHR for years. In its latest country report, The Human Rights Situation in Mexico, the IACHR expressed its deep concern regarding the practice of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, particularly its frequent use against individuals after they are arrested and before they are brought before a judge. In that report, the IACHR recommended to the Mexican State that it adopt a General Law against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The same recommendation had been made before by United Nations special rapporteurs and by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The IACHR also recommended that Mexico adopt all necessary measures to ensure that laws and practices both at the federal and state level comply with international standards on the subject, particularly the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture.

“This is an extremely significant step forward,” said the IACHR Rapporteur for Mexico, Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño. “The law establishes the absolute prohibition of torture and prohibits the use of evidence obtained under torture, without exceptions. This complies with the recommendations the Inter-American Commission made to Mexico in its last country report,” she added. That report was published in March 2016, based on the Commission’s on-site visit in 2015.

The IACHR believes that the passage and implementation of this law has the potential to mark a before and an after in terms of respect for and protection of the human rights of those who are arrested, from the moment of their detention until they are brought before a judge. The Commission urges the State to invest the necessary financial resources for the law to be applied and fully implemented throughout the country.

The IACHR highlights the important efforts by associations of victims, civil society organizations, universities, and the National Human Rights Commission to help get this historic law passed. The entry into force of this law is an emphatic message from the Mexican State against impunity, in compliance with its international human rights obligations.

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 and to defend 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. 100/17