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Enforced Disappearances

    June 04, 2013

    Disappearances in Mexico have become commonplace because federal and state authorities have tolerated and refused to clamp down on them, Amnesty International said as it launched a new briefing today.

    The recent commitments by senior government officials to end disappearances and locate the victims are important, but will mean nothing to the relatives if they do not produce tangible results to end impunity and clarify the whereabouts of victims.

    Confronting a nightmare: Disappearances in Mexico highlights the country’s ongoing pattern of disappearances amid the government’s efforts to rein in organized criminal groups. These often include enforced disappearances – carried out by public officials.

    The federal government has recognized that at least 26,000 people were reported disappeared or missing over the last six years. Last week the Interior Minister suggested the real number was much lower, despite the lack of full investigations.

    June 04, 2013

    A mother’s tireless efforts to search for her missing son tell a tale of horror and hope in Mexico

    by Kathy Price, Amnesty International Canada's campaigner on Latin America


    More than two years have passed since I met Yolanda but I have never forgotten her or the harrowing story she told me.

    Yolanda’s son Dan Jeremeel, an insurance agent living in northern Mexico and the father of four young children, disappeared in December 2008.  He left the house according to his normal routine. But he never returned. He was never seen again.

    June 03, 2013

    The new report Confronting a Nightmare - Disappearances in Mexico launched on June 4th, 2013, in Mexico City. The report addresses:

    Current situation of disappearances and enforced disappearances in the context of a rise in violent crime and human rights violations in the last few years Who are committing the crimes Who the victims are and the impact on families Risk for Human Right Defenders and relatives Impunity for virtually all cases What the Mexican government is doing on this What must be done For more information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter Communications - Media Officer Amnesty International Canada 416-363-9933 ext 332
    January 22, 2013

    Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release, as well as respect for the lives and personal safety, of five mining workers taken hostage last Friday, reportedly by the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.

    The five workers, including two Peruvians, one Canadian and two Colombians, were taken captive in the northern department (province) of Bolívar.

    Amnesty International condemns hostage-taking, which is a serious breach of international humanitarian law and can constitute a war crime.

    The organization is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the five men and any other civilians being held by the parties to the Colombian armed conflict.

    Amnesty International also calls on the authorities to identify those responsible for this and other cases of kidnapping and hostage-taking and ensure that they are brought to justice.

    For further information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332 email:


    December 18, 2012

    Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto must implement immediate and concrete measures to tackle some of the country’s most pressing human rights issues, including abuses in the context of the public security crisis, said Amnesty International in an open letter.

    According to Amnesty International’s research, human rights violations such as enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions and lack of access to justice became routine during the previous administration.

    “Peña Nieto’s positive discourse regarding human rights, including commitments to move ahead with the General Victim’s Law and reform of laws criminalizing enforced disappearances, are welcome but promises and good intentions are not enough to eradicate and prevent human rights violations,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “A very good first step President Peña Nieto can take as as commander in chief of the armed forces is to instruct them to respect human rights or face the consequences. ”

    December 14, 2012

    Today’s conviction of the killer of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya is welcome progress, but prosecutors must not rest until those who masterminded the assassination are brought to justice, Amnesty International said today.  

    Former police officer Dmitry Pavliutchenkov was found guilty and sentenced today to 11 years in a high security penal colony.  

    The trial of five other accomplices who worked with Pavliutchenkov to observe and assassinate Politkovskaya is expected to begin in March next year.  

    “While we welcome today’s verdict and the long-awaited prosecutions of Anna Politskovskaya’s killers, this case can never truly be closed until those who ordered her murder are named and brought to justice,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    A journalist and human rights defender known for her critical reports from Chechnya, Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in the elevator of her building on 7 October 2006.  

    November 08, 2012

    “[I will] crush the throat of your son […] return him back to you like Ghayath Mattar”. Threat reportedly said by the leader of the raid on Muhammad Yassin Al Hamwi’s apartment.  (Syrian activist Ghayath Mattar died in custody four days after his arrest on September 6, 2011.)

    On September 23, 2011, more than 20 uniformed and plain-clothed members of security forces believed to be Air Force Intelligence arrived at the apartment of 65-year-old Muhammad Yassin Al Hamwi (also known as Abu Haytham) looking for his 22-year-old son Muhammad Muhammad Al Hamwi who was visiting friends elsewhere in the building.

    The security forces arrested Muhammad Yassin Al Hamwi, confiscated digital equipment and other items from the apartment and destroyed property. They then proceeded to arrest Muhammad Muhammad Al Hamwi along with two other men he had been visiting: 34-year-old Ahmad Kuraitem and 22-year-old Shaker al-Masri. All four men remain detained incommunicado at an unknown location.


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