PBI-Mexico accompanies public forum on “Violence of State and Torture”

Published by Brent Patterson on

On June 26, the Peace Brigades International – Mexico Project accompanied the conversation “Violence of State and Torture” organized by the Integral Defence Committee for Human Rights “Gobixha” (Codigo DH Gobixha AC) in Oaxaca.

The forum moderated by journalist Evlin Aragón took place on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

The outreach for the conversation highlighted the three year anniversary of the events of June 19, 2016 in the state of Oaxaca.

On that day 800 state and federal officers were deployed and used live ammunition and tear gas to clear a series of roadblocks set up by striking teachers from the CNTE teachers union.

In July 2016, Telesur reported that 10 people were killed in that police action and that a report by Mexican human rights organizations – including Codigo-DH – accused the Mexican government of a series of human rights abuses including excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial executions.

PBI has noted, “Codigo-DH focuses its work on the following issues: arbitrary detention, torture, gender-based violence, community processes in defence of land and territory, and freedom of expression.”

In March 2018, Codigo-DH stated, “Torture has been an issue in the state in Oaxaca especially since the conflicts between the regional government and teachers from the Section 22 Union.”

It adds, “The dispute escalated in 2006 when the police tried to violently break up large scale protests led by striking teachers. According to the Oaxaca Truth Commission (CVO), 26 people were killed and about 500 tortured over months of protests associated with the teacher led movement.”

Codigo-DH also notes, “One well-known case is Emeterio Cruz Vásquez who was tortured by different police forces in the streets of Oaxaca during the conflict mentioned above as well as later on during his arrest. He still suffers from various medical consequences as he was beaten on the heat with assault rifle and received electric shocks.”

In March 2016, the Mexico News Daily reported, “The Oaxaca Truth Commission, established in 2013 to look into the social upheaval that rocked the city of Oaxaca in 2006, has issued its final report, in which it calls for a renewed investigation of former governor Ulíses Ruiz and other officials.”

That article adds, “The commission alleges that the governor and others were responsible for human rights abuses that included crimes against humanity, extrajudicial assassinations, arbitrary arrests and torture.”

In December 2014, a report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment stated, “Torture is generalized in Mexico.”

That report adds, “It occurs especially from the moment when a person is detained until he or she is brought before a judge, and is used as punishment and as a means of investigation.”

That United Nations report also stated, “The Special Rapporteur received many credible complaints from victims, family members and their representatives and persons deprived of their liberty and was informed of a number of already documented cases that point to the frequent use of torture and ill-treatment in various parts of the country by municipal, state and federal police, state and federal ministerial police and the armed forces.”

And it noted, “The National Human Rights Commission reported receiving 11,608 complaints of torture and ill-treatment between 2006 and April 2014.”

The Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project has accompanied Codigo-DH since it was formed in 2011.

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