More than half of adolescents held in detention centers in Mexico have been victims of torture, a report by the National Commission on Human Rights, or CNDH, revealed Wednesday.
The body said in a report that 57 percent of minors between 14 and 18 said they had been severely beaten and mistreated by police officers, as well as by members of the Mexican Army and Navy, at the time of their detention.
The CNDH, an organization with judicial, organizational and functional autonomy from the federal government, says these practices occur systematically and frequently. It adds they are deeply rooted in the detention institutions.
"For adolescents, these practices constitute 'normal' behavior or what can be expected from police," says the report “Adolescents: Vulnerability and Violence.”
The report also highlights the conditions under which juvenile prisons run by the government operate. The testimonies refer to “ill-treatment and beatings,” especially by guards. Others said there are punishments like long-term periods of isolation.
“Detention institutions in Mexico, in general, lack the means, guidance, specialized professionals, appropriate programs and comprehensive care that adolescents require to re-enter society," the report says.
Reports of torture have increased exponentially in Mexico since former President Felipe Calderon first deployed tens of thousands of armed forces on the streets as part of his war on drug cartels and organized crime. The practices and complaints of abuse have steadily continued under the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto.