HomeNewsBriefTorture by Security Forces on Rise in Calderon's Mexico
BRIEF

Torture by Security Forces on Rise in Calderon's Mexico

MEXICO / 19 JUL 2012 BY TRACEY KNOTT EN

A report by a French campaign group warns that torture and human rights violations committed by the Mexican security forces have risen dramatically since President Felipe Calderon launched his war against organized crime.

On June 25, a French non-governmental organization, the Action Group of Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT-France), released a report alleging that Mexican security forces committed an increasing number of serious human rights abuses between 2006, when Calderon came to office, and 2011.

ACAT-France’s report, “In the Name of the ‘War against Crime': A Study of the Torture Phenomenon in Mexico,” presented a stark view of Calderon's assault on the drug cartels, which ACAT-France blamed for much of the abuse. The report cited various studies estimating that during Calderon’s presidency, between 3,000 and 10,000 people were "disappeared" by criminal groups or government forces.

According to the report, the national human rights commission (CNDH) received six reports of torture in 2006, which went up to 42 last year.

ACAT-France explained the most serious cases of torture often took place in the first few hours after arrest, including asphyxiation, water-boarding, electric shock, and sexual abuse.

The report also noted the high level of impunity for abuses. Fearing reprisal, few victims came forward -- the study estimated the rate to be some 10 percent. Moreover, the study claimed that officials were hesitant to investigate abuse allegations because they could reflect badly on the government.

InSight Crime Analysis

The report demonstrates the unintended consequences of Mexico’s “war against crime.” According to ACAT-France, people were arbitrarily detained and tortured to extract forced confessions so that Mexican officials and security officers could make themselves appear successful in fighting crime. The report noted that this policy that not only hurt civilians, but also created a fabricated understanding of the reality of crime in Mexico.

It is unclear whether Mexico’s president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, will reduce human rights violations. Peña Nieto stated that he would prioritize lowering violent crime over fighting trafficking, which might decrease the pressure on the security forces to inflate their reports of those arrested for involvement in organized crime. He has also discussed in vague terms the need to reform the justice system. Although it remains to be seen whether the president elect will follow through with his promises, it is possible that reports like this one will create pressure for reform.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 MAR 2016

A former executive of the Bank of Mexico received government contracts worth over $30 million despite his conviction years earlier of being…

ARGENTINA / 19 DEC 2016

Argentine President Mauricio Macri's extensive changes to security policy generated some encouraging initial results during his first year in office,…

HOMICIDES / 2 JUN 2017

The dismantling of a microtrafficking operation in Mexico City that used bags issued by UberEATS to deliver marijuana shows how…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…