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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, April 26, 2021

Report: 'Critical' Levels of Impunity and Human Right Violations in Mexico

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat

Young women bring flowers to the perimeter wall of the Quintana Roo state offices sprayed with graffiti that reads in Spanish "Justice for Victoria," during a protest in Mexico City, Monday, March. 29, 2021. The demonstrators were protesting the police killing in Tulum, Quintana Roo state, of Salvadoran national Victoria Esperanza Salazar when a female police officer knelt on her back to cuff her. Mexican authorities say an autopsy confirmed that police broke her neck. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Mexico is suffering “critical” failures in law enforcement and some of the worst levels of journalist killings outside a war zone, the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said in a report.

The Mexican government said Sunday that it is “strengthening its work” in the areas criticized by the commission, which is a body of the Organization of American States (OAS). Those areas include lack of access to justice, weak police forces and the militarization of law enforcement. The report praised Mexico for searching for disappeared people, but activists say the government still largely relies on volunteer efforts led by relatives of the missing.

“During its visit, the commission found critical levels of impunity and inadequate attention for victims and their families,” the report said. “Threats, harassment, killings and disappearances of those who seek truth and justice have intimidated the Mexican public ... creating a big problem with under-reporting” of crimes.

“Barriers to access to justice and its inaction have resulted in many cases in crimes going unpunished, and have weakened the rule of law and constitute urgent challenges,” the report said.

The civic group Zero Impunity estimates that as of 2020, almost nine of every 10 homicides in Mexico go unpunished.

While the National Guard created by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has taken over many law enforcement duties in Mexico, the report noted that it is a largely military force.

The commission recommended Mexico “develop concrete plans for the gradual withdrawal of the armed forces from civilian law enforcement, and turning it over to civilian police.” But the report added that “since 2018, the budgets for strengthening local police have decreased or been eliminated.”

A woman holds a feminist flag and a sign that reads in Spanish "From Ciudad Juarez to Tulum we demand justice for Victoria Salazar," during a protest outside of the Quintana Roo state offices in Mexico City, Monday, March. 29, 2021. The demonstrators were protesting the police killing in Tulum, Quintana Roo state, of Salvadoran national Victoria Esperanza Salazar when a female police officer knelt on her back to cuff her. Mexican authorities say an autopsy confirmed that police broke her neck. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

López Obrador, who is known for austerity, took office in December 2018. He created the National Guard, but staffed it largely with soldiers as he eliminated the federal police. 

Homicides in Mexico remain at very high levels. Killings declined 4.5% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020, but it was unclear whether that was a side-effect of the coronavirus pandemic. At least nine journalists were killed in Mexico in 2020, the highest of any country in the Americas.

López Obrador’s administration has confronted rights abuses by soldiers by discouraging the National Guard and army from getting into confrontations, to the point that some units have been pushed around, disarmed or even briefly kidnapped by angry crowds.

The report cited Mexico’s moves to search more seriously for the 85,000 people who have disappeared since 2006, when the country’s war against drug cartels began. The commission said it “welcomes the good practice of the Mexican government in guaranteeing the effective participation of relatives of disappeared people and civic groups.”

But activists say the government still largely relies on the efforts of volunteer groups led by relatives of the missing, who go out and search for clandestine grave sites.

Patricia Flores founded the Mother Searchers of Sonora in northern Mexico after her two sons disappeared.

In two years, the group has found about 400 bodies in clandestine burial pits. She says authorities have been slow or unwilling to help, even though the searchers are often followed or threatened by apparent gang members.

“There is a lot of ineptitude on the part of the authorities,” Flores said. “They do not go out (on searches) with us. We have had a lot of problems, and we run a lot of risks.”

Mexico's 'gap' in human rights

The IACHR said the government didn’t implement the measures needed to protect the rights of women, children and adolescents, indigenous people, migrants, prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and members of the LGBTI community.

The commission charged that there is no strategy to prevent sexual assaults on women by members of security forces and there is a lack of mechanisms to sanction discrimination against indigenous people.

It criticized the government for not carrying out adequate consultation processes with indigenous communities to gauge their opinion about large-scale infrastructure projects such as the new Mexico City airport, the Maya Train and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec trade corridor.

The commission also said the government hasn’t fully complied with many of the recommendations it made in order to reduce abductions, acts of torture and extrajudicial killings; improve Mexico’s security situation and make it easier for citizens to access justice.

One of its recommendations was to gradually withdraw the military from the streets, where it has been carrying out public security tasks for more than a decade. Instead, President López Obrador signed a decree last May that ordered the armed forces to continue patrolling the streets until early 2024.

One concern cited in the report was the government's continued use of soldiers for everyday public security tasks despite the agency's recommendations.

Another recommendation was to strengthen the nation’s police forces. But data shows that almost half of Mexico’s municipal and state police officers are not officially certified as required by the law and shouldn’t be working, while the numbers are even worse at the federal level.

The commission questioned why there is no established protocol for abductions committed by security force members to be investigated by independent experts and noted that there is no national registry with information about located hidden graves and unidentified human remains. The IACHR acknowledged that there are structures in place in Mexico to protect human rights but violations continue to occur regardless.

“The challenge of the Mexican state is to close the gap that exists between its legal framework and its recognition of human rights with the reality that a large number of inhabitants experience,” it said.

Mexico needs to “redouble its efforts” to prevent human rights violations, the commission added. Of particular concern, the IACHR said, was the high number of abductions and homicides that were not properly investigated.

“Structural impunity” in Mexico encourages the repetition of crimes that violate people’s human rights, it said. The publication of the IACHR report comes just after Amnesty International (AI) released its own damning report on human rights violations in Mexico.

Unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and violence against women and girls were among a range of violations cited by AI.

Source: AP; MND


  1. Human violations are being utilized by all countries. Mexico's popularity is after all lienenci for all who has money.

  2. So they want to make a THING out of this Crazy She was part of cartel She broke her back huh I doubt it
    Think more energy should be in getting rid of Drug Cartels
    and the crime because of all the drugs.. instead of worrying about a criminal get hurt or killed by accident getting aressted

  3. In other news. The sky is blue !


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