Country Listing: Mexico
Alert Date: 29 October 1997
Case Number: ME9715.GON
Human Rights Issues
Virginia Gonzalez Torres was physically assaulted on 6 October 1997 at the government-run Jose Sayago Psychiatric Hospital. Ms. Gonzalez is an activist on behalf of people with mental disabilities in Mexico and a member of the Citizens Committee for Support of the Jose Sayago Psychiatric Hospital. The attack occurred when Ms. Gonzalez attempted to enter the hospital with other members of the Committee to attend a meeting with the hospital's director, Antonio Martinez Mungia, and document with cameras and a video recorder the alleged mistreatment of the hospital's patients.
According to Ms. Gonzalez, she was the only member of the Committee permitted on the premises. Upon entering the hospital, Ms. Gonzalez was reportedly locked in a room where she was brutally attacked by hospital workers, as Mr. Martinez looked on.
Ms. Gonzalez's hospital records indicate that, as a result of being thrown to the ground and beaten, she suffered multiple trauma to the skull, neck, and other parts of the body. In addition, her examination revealed blood vessel damage and bruising, a cervical sprain, moderate cerebral contusions, and a broken leg.
The attack is regarded by local human rights activists as an attempt to intimidate those speaking out against the abuse of patients in psychiatric hospitals.
(Source of information on this case is Mental Disability Rights International.)
As a State Party, Mexico is legally bound to uphold the rights and freedoms listed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified by Mexico on 23 March 1981); and the American Convention on Human Rights (ratified by Mexico on 24 March 1981).
Relevant International Treaty Articles
The attack on Ms. Gonzalez by employees of a state hospital in the presence of a hospital official constitute violations of international human rights standards, and infringement of medical ethical standards. They include:
Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
Under the American Convention on Human Rights:
Under the International Code of Medical Ethics (approved by the World Medical Association in 1949):
Under the Declaration of Tokyo (adopted by the World Medical Assembly in 1975):
Alert Date: 31 July 1998
Case Number: ME9808.Sal
Updated: 9 October 1998
Human Rights Issues
Mexican physicist Dr. Bernardo Salas, reportedly fired from his job at the Central Laguna Verde of the Federal Electrical Commission on 21 May 1996 for speaking out about dangerous conditions at the nuclear power station, has been hired by an organization familiar with his case.
In addition, the International Atomic Agency brought Dr. Salas's case to the attention of the Agency's Mexican permanent representative.
No further action is requested.
(Sources of information on this case include Dr. Bernardo Salas and a journalist.)