In Latin America, torture remains an “endemic” problem for all democratic governments in the region. In countries like Mexico, torture is “widespread,” but not state policy says UN Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez. On his recent visit to Mexico, Méndez evaluated how serious the problem is of torture practices by law enforcement institutions in that country. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, he talks about the challenges regarding human rights throughout Latin America.
Deutsche Welle: In your overall assessment of the situation you spoke of “widespread torture” in Mexico. Why did you choose this specific wording?
Juan E. Méndez: I chose it very carefully, because I do not want to say that torture in Mexico is systematic. It is not state policy, but rather an endemic situation, which the Mexican state is obviously obliged to correct. I didn’t want to suggest in any way that this behavior is dictated from the highest levels of the state. I think it’s more a kind of permanent practice, and it is widespread because it affects almost all kinds of citizens.
Video: Amnesty International Canada on Torture by Mexican Marines
For more information see: Oaxaca: Relatives of Loxicha prisoner denounce psychological torture and isolation