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UN Disability Committee opinion ignored in Mexico

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In September 2020, one year of the historic opinion issued by the United Nations was completed for Mexico to repair the damage caused by the violation of human rights of Arturo Medina, a young man with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, and comply with other recommendations to guarantee non-repetition

At the national and international level, the Mexican State violated the human rights of Arturo Medina Vela, a person with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. And for a year it has ignored the recommendations of the United Nations (UN) on this case, which would ensure non-repetition.

September 6, 2020 marked one year of the historic opinion issued by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Two more months have passed and the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), in charge of fulfilling the aforementioned obligations, has not implemented an action plan to repair the damage to Medina Vela.

“It is the first individual case that the Committee has resolved with respect to the Mexican State, it is pronounced in relation to violations of the human rights of a person with a disability. That is what makes the resolution historic”, mentions Diana Sheinbaum, coordinator of Documenta AC’s Disability and Justice program, in an interview with Indigo Report.

In 2011 the young Mexican was arrested for the alleged commission of the theft of a vehicle and declared unimpeachable due to his condition. Under protectionist criteria, this figure in the Federal Criminal Code excludes people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities from committing crimes.

Disability is a life condition, not a disease. However, a criminal judge imposed on Arturo Medina a security measure in detention based on medical certificates, for which he was deprived of liberty for four years at the Men’s Center for Social Rehabilitation (Cevarepsi) in Mexico City.

Additionally, his criminal proceedings presented irregularities such as the denial of the possibility of pleading not guilty, providing evidence for his defense or challenging those that were presented against him, and his right to have procedural adjustments due to his condition was not respected.

A year ago, the Committee made three recommendations to the Mexican State regarding the case of Arturo Medina: provide him with effective reparation, including reimbursement of court costs along with compensation; publicly acknowledge the violation of their rights; publish the opinion and distribute it.

The historical opinion proposes to make modifications to federal and state criminal legislation in relation to the figure of unimputability. Also, that Mexico review the security measures that imply internment for a medical-psychiatric treatment and promote alternatives; to ensure that people with disabilities can exercise their legal capacity and to ensure that officials are aware of the Convention and its Optional Protocol.

“We have not had any response from Segob, a year has passed since the recommendation and no work table has been created. In addition, there were movements that have caused the people with whom we are talking to change, that there is no information on the recommendations, there is no clarity on how they are going to promote their implementation,” insists Diana Sheinbaum.

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