1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report
of Mexico (CCPR/C/123/Add.1) at its 1762nd and 1763rd meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1762
and 1763), held on 16 July 1999, and adopted the following concluding
observations at its 1771st to 1773rd meetings, held on 22 and 23 July
2. The Committee welcomes the timely submission of the
fourth periodical report of Mexico and of an additional report and other
information providing a detailed and up-to-date description of the human
rights situation in the State party. It notes that the Committee's comments
relating to consideration of the third periodic report of Mexico were
taken into account by the State party when preparing its latest report.
The Committee notes that the State party was represented by a large
delegation which was able to reply to many of the Committee members'
concerns in the course of the analysis of the report.
B. Positive factors
3. The Committee takes note with satisfaction of the improvements
introduced since the submission of the previous report, including the
decision of 8 June 1999, approved by Congress, to allow the National
Human Rights Commission independence and the launch of several programmes
proposed by the latter to improve the situation of women, children and
the family, the programme concerning presumed disappearances and the
release of imprisoned indigenous persons. The Committee takes note of
the establishment of National Programmes for the Protection of Human
Rights, the Development Plan 1995-2000 and the Public Security programme,
which are positive developments.
4. The promulgation of the Federal Public Advocacy Act
and of the Federal Act for the Prevention and Punishment of Torture
constitute significant advances as far as investigating human rights
violations and preventing impunity are concerned.
5. The Committee notes with satisfaction the electoral
reforms introduced with a view to holding more pluralistic and transparent
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
6. The Committee considers it a matter of the gravest
concern that not all forms of torture are necessarily covered by law
in all Mexican States, and that there is no independent body to investigate
the substantial number of complaints regarding acts of torture and cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment. It is also a matter of concern that
the acts of torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions
which have taken place have not been investigated; that the persons
responsible for those acts have not been brought to justice; and that
the victims or their families have not received compensation.
The State must take the necessary measures to attain full compliance
with articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant, including measures to provide
remedies against torture in all the States of Mexico.
7. The Committee is concerned that the possibility exists
of placing on an accused person the burden of proof that a confession
has been obtained by coercion, and that confessions obtained by coercion
may be used as evidence against an accused person.
The State party should amend the provisions of the law as necessary
to ensure that the burden of proof that a confession used in evidence
has been made by the accused person of his own free will shall lie
with the State, and that confessions obtained by force cannot be
used as evidence in trial proceedings.
8. The Committee is furthermore concerned by the increase
of action by the armed forces within society, particularly in the States
of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, where they conduct activities pertaining
to the police forces.
Order should be maintained within the country through the civil
9. The Committee is deeply concerned by the fact that
no institutionalized procedures exist for the investigation of allegations
of violations of human rights presumed to have been committed by members
of the armed forces and by the security forces, and that as a consequence
those allegations are frequently not investigated.
The State party should establish appropriate procedures to ensure
that independent investigations are conducted into allegations of
violations of human rights involving members of the armed forces
and the security forces and that the persons accused of such violations
are brought to trial. The State should also establish effective
remedies for the victims.
10. The Committee has taken note of the combined effect
of the implementation of the 1995 Act Establishing Coordination between
National Public Security Systems and the 1996 Act Against Organized
Crime, as well as the extension of the concept of "flagrancy" to add
to the number of circumstances in which an arrest can be made without
a warrant from the competent official of the judiciary. This implies
a serious threat to the security of persons. The Committee has also
taken note of the fact that in cases of arrest in "flagrante delicto"
and in cases of emergency an arrested person is handed over to the Office
of the Public Prosecutor, which may hold that person in detention for
48 hours (and, in special circumstances, up to 96 hours) before bringing
him or her before a court. The Committee deplores the fact that arrested
persons do not have access to legal counsel before the time when they
have to make a formal statement to the Office of the Public Prosecutor
and that the situation regarding access by members of an arrested person's
family was not clarified during consideration of the report of Mexico.
The State party should immediately amend the relevant legal provisions
and establish procedures compatible with the provisions of article
11. The criminal procedure established and applied in
Mexico constitutes an obstacle to full compliance with article 14 of
the Covenant, which requires a trial to take place before a judge, in
the presence of the accused person and at a public hearing.
The State party should establish a procedure ensuring that accused
persons enjoy all their rights in a suit at law in accordance with
the above-mentioned article 14.
12. The Committee observes that, although a state of emergency
has not been proclaimed in areas in conflict, the population has been
subjected to derogations from its rights corresponding to a state of
emergency, such as control points impeding freedom of movement.
All necessary derogations from the rights guaranteed by the Covenant
must comply with the conditions laid down in article 4 of the Covenant.
13. The Committee is concerned at the obstacles to the
free movement of foreigners, especially the members of non-governmental
organizations investigating human rights violations on Mexican territory,
and in particular the fact that residence permits have been cancelled
and visas refused for the same reasons.
The State party should lift the restrictions on the access and activities
of persons entering Mexico to investigate human rights violations.
14. The Committee deplores the serious violations of freedom
of expression represented by the frequent murders of journalists and
by the acts of intimidation making it difficult for representatives
of the press to exercise their profession freely in Mexico or preventing
them from doing so. It also deplores the existence of the offence of
"defamation of the State".
Journalists should be guaranteed the freedom of expression laid
down in article 19 and other related provisions of the Covenant
so that they can carry on their activities without hindrance. Furthermore,
the criminal offence of "defamation of the State" should be abolished.
15. The Committee also deplores the situation of street
children, which is constantly worsening. These are the children who
are at greatest risk of sexual violence and who are exposed to the practices
of sexual trafficking.
The State should take effective measures for the protection and
rehabilitation of these children in accordance with article 24 of
the Covenant, including measures to end prostitution, child pornography
and the sale of children.
16. The Committee is concerned at the level of violence
against women, including the many reported cases of abduction and murder
which have not led to the arrest or trial of the perpetrators and the
many allegations of rape or torture by the security forces of women
in detention which the latter are fearful of reporting.
The State party should take effective measures to protect the security
of women, to ensure that no pressure is brought to bear on them
to deter them from reporting such violations and to ensure that
all allegations of abuse are investigated and the perpetrators brought
17. The Committee is concerned by information to the effect
that Mexican women seeking employment in foreign enterprises in the
frontier areas of Mexico ("maquiladoras") are subjected to pregnancy
tests and required to respond to intrusive personal questioning, and
that some women employees have been administered anti-pregnancy drugs.
It is also concerned that those allegations have not been seriously
Measures should be taken to investigate all such allegations with
a view to ensuring that women whose rights to equality and to privacy
have been violated in this way have access to remedies and to preventing
such violations from recurring.
18. The State party should approve measures to ensure
equality of opportunity for women, their full participation in public
life in conditions of equality and the removal of all remaining discriminatory
provisions in regard to marriage, divorce and remarriage.
19. Despite the acknowledgement in article 4 of the Constitution
of the multicultural composition of the Mexican nation, originally founded
by its indigenous peoples, and the determination of the State party
to settle the question of self-determination for indigenous communities,
article 27 of the Constitution seems to protect only certain categories
of rights with regard to indigenous lands and still leaves the indigenous
populations exposed to a wide range of human rights violations.
The State party should take all necessary measures to safeguard
for the indigenous communities respect for the rights and freedoms
to which they are entitled individually and as a group; to eradicate
the abuses to which they are subjected; and to respect their customs
and culture and their traditional patterns of living, enabling them
to enjoy the usufruct of their lands and natural resources. Appropriate
measures should also be taken to increase their participation in
the country's institutions and the exercise of the right to self-determination.
20. The Committee notes that the law does not recognize
the status of conscientious objectors to military service.
The State party should ensure that persons required to perform military
service can invoke conscientious objection as grounds for exemption.
21. The State party should give wide dissemination to
the text of its fourth periodic report and to these concluding observations.
It should also include in its fifth periodic report, which it is due
to submit in July 2002, information in response to these observations.