Indigenous youths at one of the Oaxaca shelters. Indigenous youths at one of the Oaxaca shelters.

Study finds abuse at indigenous shelters

Rights commission study reveals abuse, malnutrition at Oaxaca facilities

Shelters intended to improve the lives of indigenous children in Oaxaca are doing the opposite: a study has revealed abuse, malnutrition and other human rights violations.

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The National Human Rights Commission found that staff of the State Institute for Public Education of Oaxaca (IEEPO), which operates the welfare facilities, were responsible for widespread physical and psychological abuse against 559 indigenous youths.

The staff also neglected to implement and enact the necessary mechanisms to protect the victims at the 47 facilities, which provide accommodation and community kitchens for indigenous children, allowing them to attend school away from their homes.

The IEEPO was not the only agency responsible for the abuse: the shelters are run in collaboration with the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), the state Secretariat of Health and the DIF family services agency.

The study found that the youths were denied the right to personal safety, an environment free of violence and good health, among others.

Furthermore, nine shelters failed to comply with the basic conditions for adequate housing due to deterioration of the buildings, a condition that put the lives of clients at risk.

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The facilities also provide medical care but the children from 10 shelters and two community kitchens assessed by the CNDH were in poor health in general and cases of malnutrition were identified.

The commission issued a series of recommendations to the government of Oaxaca, urging it to allocate the necessary funds to address the situation.

Yesterday, Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa accepted the recommendations and pledged to address the deficiencies.

He also observed that the conditions at the facilities date back seven years to the administrations of his last two predecessors. Murat took office a year ago.

The state representative of the indigenous peoples commission made the same point, explaining that the CNDH based its recommendations on data from 2010.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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