Chamber of Deputies approved torture law yesterday. Chamber of Deputies approved anti-torture law yesterday.

New anti-torture bill gets Deputies’ nod

'Mexico on the path to full respect for human rights:' lawmaker

The Chamber of Deputies has approved a law against torture intended to prevent, investigate and punish the practice along with other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

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Deputy Armando Luna Canales presented the 96-article legislative proposal in the name of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), stating the law was needed because an alarmingly large percentage of the population condones both the violation of an individual’s human rights and the use of violence to fight crime.

This law, asserted Luna, sends “a clear message to the international community that Mexico is on the path to full respect for human rights.”

He explained that the law makes no distinctions, under any circumstances, and nobody will be exempt from responsibility.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Deputy added that under the new law there is no statute of limitations on the crime of torture and that it can be prosecuted even if no charges are pressed, guaranteeing that victims have access to justice.

Ernestina Godoy Ramos, a Deputy with the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), said the law was a breakthrough in the protection of human rights.

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Nonetheless, she added, it will be of little use as long as there’s impunity and “the institutions charged with guaranteeing the safety and integrity of the people are the main torturers.”

That the new bill is “just another paper promise” is a concern of the human rights organization Amnesty International (AI). Describing torture as being “out of control” in Mexico, it says laws against torture already exist but little attention is paid to them and torturers get away with it.

If the latest bill is to change that, says AI, torturers must finally be punished. “Otherwise, it will be just another paper promise for the thousands of people who suffer torture in Mexico.”

The new law takes into account not only physical but psychological torture, as well as performing medical or scientific procedures without a person’s consent.

The bill calls for penalties for torture ranging from 10 to 20 years in prison.

Under the new regulations, coordination mechanisms are to be established between the three levels of government in order to better prevent, prosecute and punish torture.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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