Press Release

IACHR Publishes Report No. 43/19 on Case 13,408, Alberto Patishtán Gómez, Mexico

May 20, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has decided to approve the friendly settlement concerning Case 13,408—Alberto Patishtán Gómez, Mexico—and to publish the relevant approval report. The IACHR noted that there had been full compliance with the agreement and congratulated petitioners and the Mexican State for their efforts to achieve those results.

The case concerns the international responsibility of the Mexican State for rights violations perpetrated by agents of the State on June 19, 2000 in the state of Chiapas. Such rights violations include violations of due process and a failure to adequately diagnose and provide treatment to Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who was a political activist advocating for indigenous communities in the region and who belongs to the Tzotzil indigenous community.

On September 11, 2018, the parties signed a friendly settlement that includes the following implementation clauses:

A. Rehabilitation measures

Clause 3.2 - Comprehensive healthcare - As a rehabilitation measure concerning healthcare, Alberto Patishtán Gómez has received preferential, specialized treatment at various medical institutions since October 4, 2012. That has enabled experts to confirm—in examinations conducted twice a year—that “the patient is evolving well.”

Clause 3.3 - Agreement concerning healthcare provision - The “direct victim’s” specific healthcare needs have already been satisfied and fully complied with by the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Clause 3.5 - Rehabilitation measure concerning employment - The position once held by Alberto Patishtán Gómez has been restored, although it is currently being commissioned to someone else given the frail neurological and eyesight conditions of Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who has been diagnosed and is currently being treated by the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery. In this context, the IACHR expresses its commitment to keep commissioning the job indefinitely, so that the health of Alberto Patishtán Gómez is not jeopardized by him standing before a group. “The victim” agrees to annually inform the Mexican government of an up-to-date diagnosis concerning his health condition.

B. Satisfaction measures

Clause 3.6 - Public event to acknowledge responsibility - “The parties” agree that the following reparations have been fully complied with:

“On October 31, 2013, the Interior Minister told a press conference that the federal government had granted a pardon to Alberto Patishtán Gómez, a teacher, after identifying ‘consistent evidence of serious violations of human rights including due process’.”

Clause 3.7 - Promotion of the event to acknowledge responsibility - The event was broadcast on public-access television and on several national media.

D. Compensatory Damages

Clause 3.10 - Concerning financial compensation, “the parties” acknowledge that Alberto Patishtán Gómez has received compensatory damages from the “Mexican State” and admits that he is satisfied with the payments he received for the material and immaterial damage he suffered.

E. Restitution measure

Clause 3.11 - As a restitution measure, Alberto Patishtán Gómez was immediately released from compliance with the decree that was passed on the Federal Government’s initiative, and Article 97 Bis of the Federal Penal Code was amended to substantiate presidential power. Further, with a view to restituting his conditions before these human rights violations occurred, he was restored to his job as a teacher, and he was promoted to the position of indigenous teacher.

The Inter-American Commission closely followed the implementation of the friendly settlement that was agreed in this case. The IACHR highly commends both parties for their efforts while negotiating the friendly settlement, which turned out to be compatible with the Convention’s aims and purposes. In its approval report, the IACHR considered and stated that this friendly settlement had been fully complied with.

Finally, the Commission commends the Mexican State on its efforts to solve cases that are taken before the friendly settlement mechanism and to develop a friendly settlement policy and a policy based on compliance with decisions made by the Inter-American Human Rights System. The Commission further congratulates the petitioning party for all its efforts to contribute to improving the friendly settlement procedure.

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. 121/19