Global perspective Human stories

UN human rights body urges US to stay execution of Mexican national

UN human rights body urges US to stay execution of Mexican national

A United Nations human rights body has called on the United States to stay the execution of a Mexican national, arguing that Washington did not comply with its obligations under an international treaty that guarantees consular access for foreign detainees.

The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights - the main subsidiary body of the UN Commission on Human Rights - issued a statement in Geneva on Thursday calling on US authorities "to do everything possible" to stay the 14 August execution of Javier Suárez Medina, who has been on death row in Texas for 13 years.

The Sub-Commission urged the United States to re-examine the case and guarantee the suspect's right to consular protection and a fair trial, according to the statement read out by Chairman Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.

"Javier Suárez Medina was only 19 years old when he was sentenced to death, and a number of serious breaches of his right to a defence occurred during his trial," Mr. Pinheiro said. "In particular, United States authorities did not comply with their obligations pursuant to article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 which guarantees consular assistance for foreign detainees."

The Chairman said that these obligations have been strongly reaffirmed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He also cited a ruling last year by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which found that Washington had breached its obligations to Germany and to the LaGrand brothers - two German nationals who faced the death penalty - under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.