ACLU alleges ‘unchecked abuse’ at U.S.-Mexico border

5/17/16 CNN

fence at border(CNN)A complaint filed Tuesday accuses U.S. officers of “unchecked abuse” at the border.

Several Mexican women claim they were arbitrarily detained and strip-searched, and never told why they’d been singled out. A U.S. citizen alleges that an officer yanked his 11-year-old son’s arm, causing a hairline fracture. A legal permanent resident of the United States says an officer screamed at her and falsely accused her of being a fugitive.
Those allegations are among 13 cases documented in a complaint the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Border Communities Coalition has filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The administrative complaint, lodged Tuesday, accuses officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of “systemic abuse” and rights violations at several entry points between Mexico and the United States.
“It really mocks our American values of justice and fairness,” said Cynthia Pompa, a field organizer at the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights. “And it shows that this agency really lacks oversight and accountability.”
DHS did not comment on the ACLU allegations.
Allegations in the complaint include:
• A 51-year-old Mexican woman says officers falsely accused her of being a prostitute and forced her to sign a false confession. She signed it because she didn’t understand English very well, according to the complaint. The confession, the complaint alleges, had her barred from entering the United States for five years.

UPCOMING EVENT | Ayotzinapa Case: Final Report by Group of Independent Experts

Oaxaca por Ayotzinapa
http://www.montecruzfoto.org

WHEN: Wednesday, March 25, 2016, 9:00-11:00 AM

WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click to RSVP.

In September 2014, 43 students from the Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa were forcibly disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero in southern Mexico. In the aftermath of this event, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Mexican government, and the representatives of the victims’ families created an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, by its initials in Spanish) to provide technical assistance and follow-up measures to the Mexican government in the investigation. The GIEI presented its final report on April 24, 2016.

Please join the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) for a conversation with four of the experts of the GIEI to discuss the main findings of their investigation, what their work demonstrated about Mexico’s criminal justice system, and how the investigation into the disappearance of the 43 students can move forward after their departure from Mexico. The Experts will be joined by a legal representative of the students’ families.

Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts

Carlos Martín Beristain (Spain)

Angela Buitrago (Colombia)

Francisco Cox Vial (Chile)

Claudia Paz y Paz (Guatemala)

Commentators

Maureen Meyer
Senior Associate for Mexico and Migrant Rights
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Santiago Aguirre
Deputy Director
Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center

Moderator

Eric L. Olson
Associate Director, Latin American Program,
Senior Advisor, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Click to RSVP.

‘An open wound’: Mexico’s missing women and girls

5/15/2016 CNN
6142323949_5d5f048f77_mSpanish photographer Nuria Lopez Torres met 7-year-old Tadeo at a Mother’s Day demonstration in Mexico City.
The boy was running around with flyers, asking anyone who would listen whether they knew about his mother. She disappeared in 2012 from a job interview.
Tadeo misses her. He told Lopez that the people who took his mother should give her back because he needs her more than they do.
“If they can give me an address, I’ll pick her up,” Lopez recalled the boy saying.
Like so many families, Tadeo’s family is in limbo.

Blocked By Mexico, Experts Fail To Solve Mystery Of 43 Missing Mexican Students

5/2/2016 Forbes

Afte16351122146_4433fe03f6_mr Mexico’s Deputy Secretary of the Interior Roberto Campa Cifrián said the government will not renew their mandate to assist in uncovering the truth of what happened to 43 students who vanished in 2014, five foreign legal and human rights experts packed their bags and left Mexico City on Saturday.

But the experts, sponsored by the Washington-based Inter-American Human Rights Commission, did not hide their frustration about the systematic stumbling blocks they found throughout their 17-month mission in Mexico.

“We leave frustrated for not having been able to find the 43 students and because we felt that government authorities put obstacles that stopped us from moving forward, and did not allow us to find out where the kids are,” Francisco Cox, one of the experts, told Mexican newspaper Reforma as he was boarding a plane back to his native Chile.

Read more…

Missing Mexico students: Police involvement possible

4/15/2016 Al Jazeera

16351122146_4433fe03f6_mFederal police may have been involved in the abduction and murder of 43 students in Guerrero state two years ago, Mexico has said for the first time.

The admission comes after its national human rights commission found a witness who came forward with evidence.

The witness reported that two federal police and a third municipal police force were present when the students were taken off a bus and may have even participated in their disappearance, Jose Larrieta Carrasco, the commission member leading the case, said.

Thursday’s announcement added a new twist to a probe that has come under fire from international human rights groups and independent investigators.

Mexico federal police ‘saw Iguala students being taken away’

4/14/2016 BBC

15425770747_dd7a4b3a8f_mAn unidentified witness said the federal officers were present when 15 to 20 youths were taken off a bus and led away, the commission said.

Local police told them they were taking the students away for “the boss” to decide their fate, the commission said.

The government says corrupt local police handed them to a drugs cartel.

The criminals then killed the students and incinerated their bodies, the government says.

Read more…

Los Porkys: The Sexual-Assault Case That’s Shaking Mexico

4/14/2016 The New Yorker

2000px-Veracruz_en_México.svgFor several centuries, the port city of Veracruz, located in the Mexican state of the same name, was known for its carnival. Now, though, it’s known for corruption and terror. The state has become territory for the fearsome Zeta drug cartel. According to a study by Mexico’s bureau of statistics, eight out of ten people in the state say they live in fear. At least fifteen journalists have been killed in Veracruz since 2011. During the same period, hundreds of other people have vanished. Father Alejandro Solalinde, one of Mexico’s leading human-rights advocates, has called Veracruz “a factory of forced disappearances.” To many citizens, there is little difference between the rich and the government, and between the government and the criminals.

In this climate, most people don’t come forward when crimes are committed. In fact, in 2014, only one in ten was reported to local authorities, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, also known as INEGI, after its Spanish-language acronym. But in recent weeks, a man named Javier Fernández, whose daughter Daphne Fernández has accused a group of well-to-do young men of sexually assaulting her, seems to have sparked a mini revolt against the status quo. (Her name has been published in numerous Mexican media outlets and she gave us permission to use it here.) In seeking vengeance and denouncing the authorities for their handling of the case, Fernández has turned the story into a national outrage.

Read more…