Responses to Information Requests

Responses to Information Requests (RIR) respond to focused Requests for Information that are submitted to the Research Directorate in the course of the refugee protection determination process. The database contains a seven-year archive of English and French RIRs. Earlier RIRs may be found on the UNHCR's Refworld website. Please note that some RIRs have attachments which are not electronically accessible. To obtain a PDF copy of an RIR attachment, please email the Knowledge and Information Management Unit.

 

3 January 2013

MEX104264.FE

Mexico: Whether the regional office of the Attorney General of the Republic (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) has the jurisdiction to handle a sexual assault complaint in Mexico, including Guanajuato; whether a person can file a complaint for sexual assault on the PGR website, and whether it is possible to follow up on a complaint made on the website; other organizations people can contact to file a sexual assault complaint

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Jurisdiction in Relation to Crimes

According to the website of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), crimes in Mexico fall under either federal or state jurisdiction (Mexico 27 Sept. 2011). The crimes that fall under state jurisdiction [translation] "directly affect the people," and include sexual assault, homicide, theft and threats (ibid.). The attorney general offices in the various states of Mexico are responsible for investigating those crimes (ibid.). As for crimes under federal jurisdiction, they [translation] "involve health, the economy and general security of the country or the country's interests," and the PGR is responsible for investigating them (ibid.). Among the federal crimes mentioned on the PGR website are kidnapping, drug trafficking, crimes against women or gender-based crimes, trafficking of undocumented persons, and crimes committed by public service employees (ibid. 27 Sept. 2012a). The PGR's website also indicated that it can also investigate state crimes if they are related to national security or to a federal crime (ibid. 28 Sept. 2011).

2. Jurisdiction in Sexual Assault Cases

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, an employee of the PGR's Special Prosecutor's Office for Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Persons (Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas, FEVIMTRA) noted that that office has the jurisdiction to investigate a sexual assault committed in any state if it is related to a federal crime, if a federal employee is involved in that crime, if the victim is a minor, or if the crime was committed in a [translation] "federal" area, such as a federal highway (ibid. 27 Nov. 2012). The government employee sated that in other cases or when the crimes fall under a state's jurisdiction, the local, regional or state attorney general offices are responsible for investigating the crimes set out in their respective penal codes (ibid.).

3. Sexual Assault Complaints
3.1 The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic

The FEVIMTRA employee stated that a victim can contact the PGR for assistance in filing a complaint at the appropriate time, even in the case of federal crimes (ibid.). She stated that the local or state offices of the attorney general receive the complaints (which must be signed by the victims) and investigate them and, if necessary, forward the complaints to another agency to continue the investigation (ibid.).

To file a complaint with the PGR, the website indicates that a person can contact the Complaints and Citizen Assistance Centre (Centro de Denuncia y Atención Ciudadana, CEDAC) 24 hours a day, any day of the year (ibid. 27 Sept. 2012c). A complaint can be filed with CEDAC [translation] "anonymously and confidentially" by telephone or by email (ibid. 27 Sept. 2012b). The PGR's website also indicates that complaints regarding violent crimes against women or trafficking in persons can be made [translation] "confidentially" with FEVIMTRA by telephone or by email (ibid. 18 July 2012). The site indicates that FEVIMTRA is responsible for directing the victim toward the competent authority and to inform them of the progress of the investigation (ibid.). In other correspondence, the government employee stated that the victim, their lawyer or the police officer assigned to the case can obtain information about the progress of the investigation (ibid. 11 Dec. 2012). Such a request for information can be made in writing in person at PGR offices only (ibid.).

3.2 Office of the Attorney General of Justice of the State of Guanajuato

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the director of preliminary investigations of the Office of the Attorney General of Justice of the State of Guanajuato (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Guanajuato, PGJEG) stated that that state has its offices specialize in investigating crimes related to sexual and family violence and that they are located in different municipalities, namely in Irapuato and Salamanca (Guanajuato 7 Dec. 2012). The director stated that the victim can make a complaint in writing or verbally online or directly at the offices of the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público) (ibid.). The public ministries are the entities of the offices of the attorneys general of justice responsible for investigating crimes (Mexico 27 Sept. 2011). The PGJEG website has a page that allows for filing a complaint online; the person provides various information, including their name, occupation, age, gender, address, telephone number, email address and information regarding the complaint, including a description of the facts, and the date, place and time (Guanajuato n.d.). The director stated that the victim can obtain information on the progress made on the complaint in person at a Public Ministry office, or by telephone or email (ibid. 7 Dec. 2012).

3.3 Office of the Public Attorney for Social Assistance for Victims of Crimes

The Special Prosecutor's Office for Social Assistance for Victims of Crimes (Procuraduría Social de Atención a las Víctimas de Delitos, PROVÍCTIMA) is a decentralized federal government agency that was created in September 2011 (Mexico 2011). The agency's mission is to offer assistance to victims of crime [translation] "on its own or in partnership with other specialized organizations" (ibid., art. 1). If the crime falls under state jurisdiction, PROVÍCTIMA directs the victim to the state or municipal authorities (ibid., art. 3). According to an article published by the Mexican news agency NOTIMEX, the PROVÍCTIMA prosecutor stated that the agency offers assistance to victims of all sorts of crimes, even though the agency's mandate is to handle cases of [translation] "extreme violence" such as kidnappings, disappearances and homicides (NOTIMEX 10 Oct. 2011). According to the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) of Mexico, PROVÍCTIMA offers psychological counselling, legal guidance and [translation] "follow-ups of cases reported to the authorities" (Mexico Feb. 2012, 7).

Sources indicated that the PGR has transferred to PROVÍCTIMA some of its resources for assisting victims, namely part of its staff and facilities that belonged to FEVIMTRA (Equis 17 July 2012, 16; Excelsior 6 Sept. 2012). According to a report from the United States Department of State on the treatment of people, "[s]ome interlocutors noted that the lack of clarity regarding the division of responsibilities between FEVIMTRA and PROVÍCTIMA, as well as the lack of organizational structure within the new agency" (US June 2012, 248). Excelsior, a Mexico City newspaper, wrote that, according to the PROVÍCTIMA prosecutor, the agency does not receive enough funding and has problems paying its employees' salaries (Excelsior 6 Sept. 2012). The prosecutor also stated that there are no offices in states with a high rate of violence, such as Tamaulipas or Durango (ibid.).

PROVÍCTIMA's website indicated that victims can communicate with the agency by telephone or email, or go to one of the 17 offices located in the 15 states of Mexico (Mexico 28 Aug. 2012). The agency has an office in the City of Guanajuato (ibid. 30 Oct. 2012).

4. Effectiveness of the Complaint Processing System

Sources indicated that many female victims of sexual violence do not file complaints (AI June 2012, para. 2.4), particularly because they have no [Equis English version] "confidence in the system" (Equis 17 July 2012, 11). An article in the Mexican daily El Universal noted that, according to the director of the Victoria Diez Human Rights Centre (Centro de Derechos Humanos Victoria Diez), female victims of sexual violence in the State of Guanajuato report only one out of every two incidents (El Universal 24 Oct. 2012). The article also stated that, according to human rights activists, [translation] "the lack of investigation protocols within the Public Ministry" of Guanajuato favours impunity in cases of gender-based violence (ibid.). In a report presented to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres, an NGO that promotes women's rights in Mexico, indicated that [Equis English version] "[i]t is a common practice for public prosecutors to prevent women from presenting a report on violence;" that its members sometimes have "[d]iscriminatory attitudes" and fail to provide the protective measures needed; and that the investigations by public prosecutors are "incomplete and detrimental to women," especially in cases of sexual violence (Equis 17 July 2012, 11). Additional information on this topic could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Amnesty International (AI). June 2012. Mexico: Briefing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. (AMR 41/041/2012) <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR41/041/2012/en/c5d5476b-1807-423c-ba45-33a420762753/amr410412012en.pdf> [Accessed 19 Dec. 2012]

Equis: Justicia para las Mujeres. 17 July 2012. Informe sobre la situación de acceso a la justicia para las mujeres en México. <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/ cedaw/docs/ngos/EquisSubmission_for_the_session.pdf> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2012]

Excelsior [Mexico]. 6 September 2012. Claudia Solera. "Províctima sin futuro, falta dinero hasta para pagar salarios." <http://www.excelsior.com.mx/index.php?m=nota&seccion=seccion-nacional&cat=1&id_nota=857661> [Accessed 12 Dec. 2012]

Guanajuato. 7 December 2012. Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Guanajuato (PGJEG). Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by the director of preliminary investigations.

_____. N.d. "Contáctanos." <http://portal.pgjguanajuato.gob.mx/WebPGJEG/Denuncia-Linea.aspx> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2012]

Mexico. 11 December 2012. Procuraduría General de la República. Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 27 November 2012. Procuraduría General de la República. Fiscalía Especial para los Delitos de Violencia contra las Mujeres y Trata de Personas. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 30 October 2012. Procuraduría Social de Atención a las Víctimas de Delitos (PROVÍCTIMA). "Centros de Atención a Víctimas." <http://www.provictima.gob.mx/ 2012/02/centros-de-atencion-a-victimas/> [Accessed 20 Dec. 2012]

_____. 27 September 2012a. Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). "Delitos." <http://www.pgr.gob.mx/ servicios/mail/cnac1.asp> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2012]

_____. 27 September 2012b. Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). "Requisitos." <http://www.pgr.gob.mx/ Servicios/Mail/cnac2.asp> [Accessed 18 Dec. 2012]

_____. 27 September 2012c. Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). "CEDAC." <http://www.pgr.gob.mx/ servicios/mail/cedac.asp> [Accessed 18 Dec. 2012]

_____. 28 August 2012. Procuraduría Social de Atención a las Víctimas de Delitos (PROVÍCTIMA). "Necesito ayuda, ¿qué hago?" <http://www.provictima.gob.mx/eres-victima/> [Accessed 14 Dec. 2012]

_____. 18 July 2012. Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). "Denuncia." <http://www.pgr.gob.mx/combate%20a%20la%20delincuencia/Delitos%20Federales/Fevimtra/Denuncia.asp> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2012]

_____. February 2012. Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH). Newsletter. New Era, No. 228. <http://www.cndh.org.mx/sites/all/fuentes/documentos/ Cart_news/news228.pdf> [Accessed 18 Dec. 2012]

_____. 28 September 2011. Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). "Investigación delictiva." <http://www.pgr.gob.mx/Combate%20a%20la%20Delincuencia/Investigacion%20Delictiva/Investigacion_Delictiva.asp> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2012]

_____. 27 September 2011. Procuraduría General de la República (PGR). "Ministerio Público de la Federación." <http://www.pgr.gob.mx/Combate%20a%20la%20Delincuencia/ Ministerio_Publico.asp> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2012]

_____. 2011. Decreto por el que se crea la Procuraduría Social de Atención a las Víctimas de Delitos, como un organismo descentralizado de la Administración Pública Federal. <http://www.provictima.gob.mx/conoce-provictima/ decreto/> [Accessed 12 Dec. 2012]

NOTIMEX, Agencia de noticias del Estado Mexicano. 10 October 2011. "PROVÍCTIMA dará apoyo a las personas afectadas por delitos de todo typo." <http://www.excelsior.com.mx/node/773954> [Accessed 20 Dec. 2012]

United States (US). June 2012. Department of State. "Mexico (Tier 2)." Trafficking in Persons Report 2012. <http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/192596.pdf> [Accessed 19 Dec. 2012]

El Universal. 24 October 2012. Xóchitl Álvarez. "Violencia ahoga seguridad de mujeres." <http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/estados/88358.html> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2012]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Cable News Network (CNN) Mexico; CIMAC Noticias; Guanajuato – Instituto de la Mujer Guanajuatense, Secretaría de Salud; Mexico – Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, Secretaría de Seguridad Pública; Proceso; United Nations – Refworld.

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