The Mexican Senate appoints 13 persons to the National Citizen Council of the National Search System

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The Senate of the Republic appointed 13 persons to the National Citizen Council, composed of 5 relatives of disappeared persons, 4 human rights specialists and 4 representatives of human rights organizations, who will participate for a period of three years.

  • Francisco Olvera Acevedo, Grace Mahogany Fernández Morán, Mirna Nereida Medina Quiñonez, Margarita Michelle Quevedo Orozco, and Edna Dolores Rosas Huerta were appointed as representatives of the family members.
  • Denise González Núñez and Santiago Corcuera Cabezut were appointed as specialists in the protection and defence of human rights. Volga Pilar de Pina Ravest, as a specialist in the search for disappeared or non-localized persons and Mercedes Celina Doretti, as a specialist in forensic matters.
  • Humberto Francisco Guerrero Rosales, Juan Martín Pérez García, Consuelo Gloria Morales Elizondo and Norma Patricia Quintero Serrano were selected as representatives of human rights organizations.

The National Citizen Council is a consultative body of the National Search System, created after the recent enactment of the General Law on Disappearance of Persons. Its objective is to advise both the System and the National Search Commission on the implementation of actions, policy-making and projects, in order to expand its capacities with the contribution of specialists in the matter.

The legal battle against the Internal Security Law

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 Façade of the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice 
 Picture: www.scjn.gob.mx

After the approval of the Internal Security Law, the legal battle began with the aim of repeal it, considering that it violates the human rights of Mexican citizens.

The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice accepted 8 Constitutional Controversies against the Internal Security Law filed by the municipalities of Nezahualcóyotl, Ocuilan and Cocotitlán, State of Mexico; of Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua; of the Yucatecan municipalities of Oxkutczab, Tepakan and Hoctun, and San Pedro Cholula, Ahuacatlán and Tepeyahualco in the state of Puebla. The reason given by the municipalities was that the rule invades their sphere of competence in the area of public security.

In addition, the Court accepted four Actions of Unconstitutionality filed by: 1) the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), 2) Minority Deputies, 3) Minority Senators and 4) National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI). The arguments presented were that the law contravenes the human rights set forth in the Constitution, including the privacy of individuals, since the military may have access to their personal information under the argument of internal security.

Both the actions of inconstitutionality and the controversies were accumulated due to the existence of identity with respect to the shared decree, that is, all the resources will be combined in the same project.

Once the actions of unconstitutionality and controversy are admitted by the Supreme Court, it is decided whether to inform the two chambers or, because of the importance of the issue to the plenary. A rapporteur minister is assigned, who will notify the responsible authorities (in this case, the Congress of the Union and the President of the Republic) so that, within a certain period of time, they can answer the action, allege and offer proof.

Following this, the rapporteur minister draws up a draft resolution circulating among the other ministers, which is then discussed collectively. The draft resolution will declare the Constitutionality of the law or not, in case it is declared unconstitutional, the law will lose its validity. This procedure will take between 2 months and 3 months due to the importance of the matter.

More info in spanish:

El Universal

HuffingtonPost

#SeguridadSinGuerra: the movement against the new Mexican Internal Security Law

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The #SeguridadSinGuerra (#SecurityWithoutWar) collective, formed by social organizations, citizens and activists, has been one of the strongest voices against the Internal Security Law.

According to the movement, “normalizing the intervention of the Mexican Army in police work would contribute to perpetuate the situation of violence that we seek to reverse”. They argue that it is the state level governments who have the obligation to form effective police corporations that guarantee our security and avoid resorting to the service of the Armed Forces.

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They also pointed out that biggest threats of this new law are:

  1. Gives the Armed Forces powers of policing, such as allowing them “preventive” actions at their discretion.
  2. It does not generate controls to verify respect for human rights, it only mentions that “they will be respected”.
  3. It allows the Federal Forces – including the military – to intervene against social protests if they believe they are not peaceful.
  4. Poor regulation of the use of force; it refers to deficient and unsupervised protocols.
  5. It attacks transparency by determining that all information on internal security measures will be confidential.
  6. It does not impose a time limit on internal security problems
  7. It does not oblige state and municipal authorities to strengthen their civilian police officers in time and according to specific goals
  8. Promotes military intervention in civilian intelligence areas.
  9. It does not establish robust checks and balances; it only talks about the Secretary of the Interior sending a report to the Bicameral Commission of the Congress of the Union.
  10. The use of vague definitions allow everything to fit into the figure of “internal security”.

More info about #SeguridadsinGuerra

 

 

What is the new Mexican Internal Security Law?

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The Internal Security Law, which was approved during the month of December by the Legislative branch, is a legislation that defines and details the activities of the Armed Forces in public security tasks and defines in which situations the military may act.

In short, it authorizes what has been done for 11 years: the use of the Armed Forces for public security purposes. This law authorizes the legitimate use of force by the Armed Forces and the rational and proportional use of techniques, tactics, methods, armaments and protocols of their elements to control, repel or neutralize acts of resistance, according to their characteristics and methods of execution.

The Federal Forces and the Armed Forces are now also empowered to develop intelligence activities in the field of Internal Security within their respective areas of competence. When carrying out intelligence tasks, the authorities empowered by this Act may use any lawful method of gathering information.

The international community has expressed its concern. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, for example, reported that the law contains precepts contrary to human rights standards, as it normalize the permanence of the Armed Forces in public security tasks.

More info:

Mexican senate votes to keep troops in police role despite outcry from Human rights groups

Mexico passes Law of Internal Security

The University of Milan awards an honorary degree to Vera Jarach, Estela de Carlotto and Yolanda Morán, the Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina and Mexico.

The Academic Senate of the State University of Milan unanimously approved the granting of the honorary title of Master’s Degree in International Relations to three women who, according to the Senate’s resolution “represent in a particularly significant way the movements born in Argentina and later in Mexico for the rights of the victims of enforced disappearances and who are testimony to an untiring commitment in the defense of human rights and in the search for truth and justice”.

The representatives of the historic Plaza de Mayo, Vera Vigevani Jarach and Estela Barnes de Carlotto, respectively Mother of the Plaza de Mayo-Linea Founder and President of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, and Yolanda Morán Isais, who in recent years took charge of the same mission in Mexico, coordinating FUNDEM – Fuerzas Unidas por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México, will receive the recognition.

The honorary degrees, proposed by the Department of International, Legal and Historical-Political Studies of the State University, will be awarded during the opening ceremony of the academic year, which will take place in February.

Press Release (italian)

UT Human Rights Clinic to Brief Congress on Enforced Disappearances in Mexico

2017-hrc-coahuilareport-en-hero-1-960x540On Thursday October 5, 2017 at 10:00 Ariel Dulitzky spoke before the Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives at a briefing on enforced disappearances in Mexico. Ariel Dulitzky is the Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. He highlighted key findings from a Human Rights Clinic report on the relationship between organized crime and the state in Coahuila, Mexico and the human rights violations, including disappearances, that have been committed there. The report analyzes the most important information arising out of witness testimonies from three U.S. federal trials against members of the Zeta cartel. The report maps out the hierarchical structure of the Zetas, documents the links between the Zetas and Coahuila state authorities, and identifies human rights abuses perpetrated by the cartel. Press this link to access the report.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) analyze the situation in Coahuila, Mexico.

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During the 165th Regular Session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, representatives of the Diocesan Center for Human Rights Fray Juan de Larios, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights presented the report “Mexico: Murders, disappearances and torture in Coahuila de Zaragoza constitute crimes against humanity”, highlighting the fact that between 2009 and 2016, crimes against humanity were committed against humanity. As stated in the report, these crimes qualify as crimes against humanity and therefore fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

At the hearing, representatives of the organizations addressed the collusion of Coahuila’s senior officials and security authorities with the Zetas cartel in the commission of crimes against humanity between 2009 and 2011. As well as the direct responsibility of state security authorities, through the Special Weapons and Tactics Group (GATE in spanish), in the commission of crimes against humanity between 2012 and 2016.

They also highlighted two particularly violent cases: the Allende massacre and the case of the Piedras Negras prison.

Despite the Mexican State’s representative delegation’s commitment to the investigation and punishment of murders, torture and enforced disappearances, they expressly rejected any kind of international cooperation to reverse impunity in the country (as they have refused to accept the establishment of the Advisory Council, recommended by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, with an international membership of experts in the field).

The IACHR review of the case will continue as they expect more information by the petitioners and the state representatives.

Watch the full hearing here (spanish/english)