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Civil organizations appeal two recommendations of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (Mexico City). The entity responsible to protect the compliance of these rights in the capital city would have discriminated the vulnerable population, they considered.

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By considering that the dependencies of the Government of the Federal District are not stated as responsible of violating human rights for the use of discriminatory language, among other failures, the non-governmental organizations and centers of human rights appeal the recommendations 7/2015 and 8/2015 issued by the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City (CDHDF) led by Perla Gómez Gallardo. Both recommendations state human rights violations to street populations. In a joint action El Caracol, AC; the Mexican Commission of Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos), AC, and the Center of Human Rights Fray Francisco de Vitoria lodged an appeal before the National Commission of Human Rights against the two recommendations made public last August 2015.

Both of them document and show evidence of violations to the right to equality before the law, to the freedom, to the integrity, to the non-discrimination, to the legal certainty, to the right to honor and to dignity, and to the right to health of the populations that survive within the public space of the capital city.

The recommendations

The CDHDF identifies in the Recommendation 7/2015 115 direct victims. The 12 files that make it up were brought together into five cases divided by the place of stay at night: the Candelaria Station of the Collective Metro Transport System (STCM), the area under the of Taxqueña, Artículo 123 Street, Station Pino Suárez of the STCM and the crossroad of Eje 1 Norte and Avenida del Trabajo.

This is due to the acts of social cleansing and criminalization of street population occurred during 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and executed by public servants from the Municipalities of Coyoacán, Cuauhtémoc, Venustiano Carranza, the Secretariat of Urban Development and Housing, the Secretariat of Public Security of the Federal District and the Collective Transport System Metro.

In two of these files, the CDHF started an investigation ex oficio as a result of journalistic articles published on media outlets; two more started at the request of the street people; five of them at the request of the private assistance institution Ednica (acronym standing for Education with Boys, Girls, Teenagers and Young People in Street Situation), and three at the request of the El Caracol civil association.

And only as “collaborators” are: the Legal Department, the Secretariat of Social Development of the Federal District and the Attorney General’s Office of the Federal District.

Out of the recommendations highlight the case of 11 youngsters that lived on the sidewalk of Artículo 123 Street and Humboldt, Downtown District, in the Municipality of Cuauhtémoc of Mexico City.

poblacion-calle-300Accused of aggravated theft and offenses against health in the modality of small-scale drug trafficking, his process was started on the 22nd of April 2014. “The offenses that were fabricated”, assure Sayuri Herrera Román, coordinator of the Judicial Area of the Vitoria Center, and Johana Sánchez, also member of the aforementioned human rights center.

“The precedent that this case leaves is that poverty and life on the streets can be criminalized and condemned”, says to Contralínea Luis Enrique Hernández, director of El Caracol, AC.

The morning of the 22nd of April 2014, around 20 elements of the Secretariat of Public Security of the Federal District (SSPDF), along with the garbage truck with the reduced identification number 1489, went to the Artículo 123 Street and Humboldt. They hit children, women and teenagers as they deprived them of their belongings. Clothes, shoes, strollers, money, dishes, blankets, toys and identity documents were thrown to the garbage trucks.

After the “operation” was executed “at the request of the neighbors”, the elements detained 16 persons in street situation, among them one underage, without being brought immediately to the Public Ministry.

According to the own version of the detainees, the Center for Human Rights Fray Francisco de Vitoria and the civil organization El Caracol, wre brought to the Alameda Park.

There they were detained for around 2 hours, as the videos presented by the defense states, headed by the public defender along with the Vitoria Center, throughout the Commission of Human Rights of the Federal District.

At the moment of being deprived of their freedom they were not informed of the real motivation of their detention, nor were they presented with an eviction order. The elements of the Public Security only commented they had orders to evict them. They were not deprived of their freedom by means of physical force, with handcuffs, but they were asked to “wait” while their “houses” were evicted.

During this lapse of time, states the Vitoria Center, they looked for ways to frame acts that could afterwards be charged, among other things the fabrication of offenses that they did not commit and that now are the main cause of the condemnatory sentence.

It was at the Alameda Park where a couple appeared to accuse six teenagers of theft, one of them, a policewoman of the SSPDF dressed as a civilian that identified herself as a housewife.

The inconsistencies in the timing are key element for the case, explain the attorneys of the Vitoria Center; however the judge ignored these elements. Five of the 16 detainees of that day –including the minor- were presented before the Civil Court CUH-2 for alleged affront before authority and later were released. Eleven of them were sent to the Agency of the Public Ministry No. 2 of the Municipality of Cuauhtémoc, accused of damage to health and aggravated theft.

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On Wednesday 23rd of April, the eleven arrived to the Preventive Men Detention Center North. Five of them remained there until Friday the 25th of April. Accused of offenses against health in the modality of small-scaled drug trafficking, criminal case 128/2014, continued their process released- one person paid a bail of 5 thousand pesos for each detainee throughout the Council for the Prevention and Elimination of the Discrimination in Mexico City- and in December of 2014 they were found guilty without any appeal by the public defender to the sentence, thus opening the penal and administrative process.

After 11 months of deprivation of his freedom in the Detention Center North, the six remaining charged under the case 84/2014, accused of aggravated theft in gangs –and that were pointed out by the policewoman Érika Gabriela and her brother-, the Fourth Criminal Court ruled a condemnatory sentence on the 20th March 2015.

The teenagers, aged from 20 till 31 years, were found guilty and sentenced to 4 years and 9 months behind bars. Lacking any criminal record, four of them left early morning of the 8th of April 2015, to continue their process free.

“The proofs generated a reasonable doubt concerning the right to the presumption of innocence, which was not taken into account when being sentenced”, said the defenders in an interview with Contralínea.

Consequently the organizations appealed the recommendations, objecting that the Legal Department and Services is only pointed out as “collaborative authority”, and not directly responsible of violating the human rights of those who were sentenced.

All along the 80 pages which build up the recommendations, it is revealed that the trampling committed against street population: municipal authorities that employ water pipes to throw water three times a week on those sleeping on the sidewalks or parks, as well as their belongings. When the street people try to impede the cleansing, they are taken away by force or are aggressed using water cannons under pressure of a pipe, in order to keep them away.

The constant presence of garbage trucks picking up belongings of humble people is a common practice now in the city. Also has become a custom the destruction of houses made out of carton, plastic and wood under bridges.

The operations are carried out at dawn, as reveal the recommendation, and they involve the use of excessive public autoridades-delegacionales-300force, the element of surprise, the hits, the interventions, the arbitrary detentions, the fabrication of offenses, the intimidations and the death threats.

“Personnel of the Civil Protection of the Metro aggresses them verbally and asks the aggravated ones to get away because they are obstructing the passage, or on the contrary threatens them to send them the police […]. The Preventive Police of the SSPDF, assigned to the Citizen Protection Unit Revolution, with hits and kicks, they performed withdrawal of these persons.”

The street work is also criminalized. The CDHDF tells that on the 22nd of September 2014 policemen of the SSPDF solicited to Fabian his authorization to clean the windshield on the corner of Victoria and Balderas Avenue.

They requested him to board the patrol P2215 and transferred him to the Civil Court of the Territorial Coordination of Public Security and the Administration of Justice CUH-4, where he was put at the disposition, and further released having to pay a fine of 67 pesos for using “the public area and ways without the authorization”.

José Luis Jiménez Ruiz was detained while he was siting and eating; Bryan Omar Camacho Quiroz and Diego were detained when they were spraying flavoring substances to the cars by elements of the Citizen Protection Unit Morelos of the SSPDF in the area of the recreational park Ramon López Velarde, also known as Las Aguilas Park; locate between the streets of Eje 1 Norte and the Avenida del Trabajo, in the District of Morelos, in the Municipality of Cuauhtémoc.

They were boarded on the pick-up P-20-014 and on one patrol because the cameras that were monitoring the public area had detected that they were cleaning windshields. “If we see them again, we will put them a gram of crack or weed and we are going to screw them, they warned.

The supervisor of the School Area 343 directed on the 21st of January 2014 a document to the then-head of the Municipality of Venustiano Carranza José Manuel Ballesteros López, to request the relocation of those who lived under the pedestrian bridge located on Avenida del Trabajo and Eje 1 Norte of the District of Morelos, as they “obstructed the passing of students and parents” of the Primary School General Miguel Alemán.

After several processes between authorities, on the 6th of February of that tear they were evicted and wetted with water pipes. During the eviction the elements of the SSP pushed them, hit them, insulted them, and threatened them to death.

When on the 23rd of September 2014 José Luis Jiménez Ruiz and his spouse were trying to get food in the diary Liconsa, located on Avenida del Trabajo and Manuel Doblado in the District of Morelos, preventive police forces of the SSPDF arrived. They obliged him to step into the patrol P2005 UPC Morelos, “anyhow we were going to screw you”, they said. The patrol started driving and moments later it stopped so that one of the policemen got a bag of rubbish aboard. They transferred him to the civil judge of the Territorial Coordination of Public Security and Justice Procurement CUH-3, where they put him in the hands of the justice, accused of throwing garbage in public space.

The next day Luis was again molested by police force. Around 16 hours, while he slept, his partner Daniel was applying aromatizing substance to the interior of the cars that were transiting over the Avenida del Trabajo, corner with Caridad street, in the district of Ampliación Morelos, Municipality of Cuauhtémoc.

Without any further explanation the preventive policemen, assigned to the Civil Protection Unit Morelos SSPDF transferred them in the patrol P-20-08 to the Decentralized Public Prosecutor of Investigation on Environmental Crimes and in Matters of Urban Protection of the PGJDF “for disposing rubble on public space”. A pretrial investigation was started under the reference FEDAPUR/DA-1/T1/00748/14-09.

The aggravated person, while she was watching a piece of theater in the park, was detained for allegedly obstructing the transit on the streets and asking for money to people. The aggravated person was sleeping and a policeman tried to grab her blankets, detained him and accused him of drinking alcoholic beverages on public area. The certificate of the physical state determined that he was presented with breath without the characteristic smell and clinically not drunk, can be read in the document.

The recommendation 8/2015 is related with three cases of deficiency in the attention of the health of street population, which on occasions caused the death of two persons; as well as delay in the access to drugs and necessary instruments to attend the broken bone of another person. These cases were registered during 2010, 2013 and 2014.

The appeal

According to the Internal Regulation of the CNDH, this accounts on the faculty to receive and process the appeals of judgements against the dictated recommendations by local organisms. It also establishes that the resolutions could be adopted regarding the appeals of judgements is the confirmation that the resolution of the local organism of Human Rights or the modification of the very own recommendation (in this case, it will reformulate it, as well as draft a recommendation to the local organism).

According to the promotors the Commission joined in two recommendations 15 cases that merit, by themselves the individual attention. “They are very old files that the CDHDF accumulated for year without giving them an appropriate resolution”, says in an interview Luis Enrique Hernández, director of El Caracol, AC.

The defender of Human Rights explains that the instruments do not attend the protection of the population by age groups, when they involve boys, girls, teenagers, youngsters and adults. “The compensation of damage is not being attended. Those still behind bars are not recognized as victims. The CDHDF does not pronounce itself on their liberty despite the proofs that it relies on. The recommendation does not contemplate neither the judicial responsibility of the Department, nor does it attend the right to property if the population”, he enumerates incisively.

He adds that constantly the text eludes to “persons in street situation”, a language that, according to the organizations, results discriminatory. The “street population” is a concept known for years by the CDHDF and responds to the plurality of the people living on the street.

The instrument does not allude to past recommendations, where it was already recommended that the personnel had a capacitation course to attend the street population. “Police force, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, etc. who allegedly already received this capacitation, continue to violate human rights”. And generally speaking, he concludes, this phenomenon remains without being attended structurally.

For the realization of this work interviews were requested to the Government of the Federal District; and the CNDH, via Lázaro Serranía and Silvia Esparza. Until the closing of edition no response had been received.

(Translated by: Axel Plasa)

Contralínea 471 / del 18 al 24 de Enero de 2016

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