Amnesty International is publishing this report to illustrate the evident failure of President Felipe Calderón’s administration to seriously combat torture and to highlight the challenges that the new government of Enrique Peña Nieto must confront when it takes office in December to end torture and ill-treatment.
Reports of torture and ill-treatment have risen sharply in Mexico during the militarized campaign of President Calderon’s administration to combat organized crime. The victims are often criminal suspects or simply people caught up in military and police public security operations. They face beatings, asphyxiation, drowning, electric shocks and death threats at the hands of
officials usually with the aim of obtaining information or supposed confessions.
Few dare to report their treatment, fearing reprisals and continued illtreatment. Those that do, face almost insurmountable obstacles to prevent information obtained by torture serving as evidence in criminal trials let alone securing justice for the abuses suffered. Impunity for torturers remains the norm encouraging its continued use as a means of investigation and punishment against perceived criminal suspects. The failure to enforce laws and uphold international human rights norms to prevent and punish torture and ill-treatment is routine.
Despite the systematic use of torture and ill-treatment by members of the military and police, the government of President Calderon has ignored and dismissed this reality, leaving victims without access to justice. The hope that judicial reforms would end incentives to use torture has not materialized. Training programmes and other measures introduced over the last decade to
combat torture and end impunity have failed. Nevertheless, the government refuses to acknowledge this situation, allowing the use of torture and illtreatment to become further ingrained at the same time as making general commitments to protect human rights.