Oct 22, 2015

Mexican AG's office apologizes to parents for 12-year-old migrant's death

EFE: The Mexican Attorney General’s Office publicly apologized to an Ecuadorian couple for the March 2014 death of their 12-year-old daughter at a children’s shelter in the northern state of Chihuahua.

The deputy attorney general for human rights, crime prevention and community services, Eber Omar Betanzos Torres, “addressed some words to the parents,” who live in the United States, at the Consulate General of Ecuador in New York, the AG’s office said in a statement Tuesday.

Betanzos lamented the harm caused to the young girl, pledged that the AG’s office would work harder on training its staff on the human rights of migrant children and adolescents and develop intervention protocols based on internationally recognized human rights standards.

Jocelyn Nohemi Alvarez Quillay, whose death was ruled a suicide, was found hanged on March 11, 2014, inside a bathroom at the shelter.

Workers at the facility said she had been distraught when she entered the bathroom alone and stayed there for around 20 minutes with the door locked from the inside.

The National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, said in a recommendation issued Aug. 5 that the young girl’s right to personal safety and due process had been violated.

It said Alvarez Quillay, who had set out alone on the dangerous trek from southern Ecuador in February, was detained by Mexican police on March 6, 2014, while riding in a vehicle in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in the company of a people smuggler.

The minor was turned over to Chihuahua’s Integral Family Development social assistance agency but was housed in a shelter not directly operated by the state government.

The CNDH added that the federal AG’s office had not provided psychological support and assistance to the girl and instead screamed at and harassed her while taking her statement.

It also called on that institution to “repair the damage caused to the girl’s family,” including the payment of compensation and the provision of psychological care, a recommendation the AG’s office said on Aug. 6 that it would heed.

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