HomeNewsBrief2013 Human Rights Watch Report Shows Little Improvement for Mexico
BRIEF

2013 Human Rights Watch Report Shows Little Improvement for Mexico

HUMAN RIGHTS / 1 FEB 2013 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Human Rights Watch's World Report 2013 paints a grim picture of the state of human rights in Mexico, detailing widespread abuses committed by security forces in the fight against organized crime and a pervasive climate of impunity.

The chapter on Mexico reports that military abuses -- including torture, disappearances, and killings -- are widespread. Between January 2007 and mid-November 2012, Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) received reports of 7,350 human rights abuses by the armed forces. Despite the Supreme Court's historic ruling in August 2012 that the Military Code of Justices' claim of jurisdiction over human rights cases was unconstitutional, military personnel continue to be prosecuted in military courts, where very few investigations into criminal wrongdoing end in sentencing.

As the report details, despite the major judicial overhaul passed in 2008, Mexico's criminal justice system remains hampered by corruption, inadequate resources, and state resistance to implementation of the reforms. The report also expresses concern over the use of the provision of "arraigo," which allows prosecutors to hold suspects for up to 80 days before charging them with a crime.

The report notes no improvement in Mexico's overburdened, underfunded prison system, noting that according to the National Human Rights Commission an estimated 60 percent of prisons are controlled by organized crime.

Human rights defenders and journalists, particularly those who report on drug trafficking or abuses by security forces, continued to face harassment and violence in 2012. Although Mexico passed a constitutional amendment in June 2012 that makes attacks against journalists a federal crime, lack of investigation into crimes against members of the press has created a climate of self-censorship and impunity.

The report also highlights the dangers faced by the hundreds of thousands of migrants who pass through Mexico each year and the failure of the authorities to take adequate steps to protect them. According to the CNDH, cited in the report, an estimated 22,000 migrants are kidnapped each year, often by organized crime groups who demand ransom payments from relatives.

InSight Crime Analysis

The assessment covers similar ground to last year's report and the damning 2011 report, "Neither Rights Nor Security," on former President Felipe Calderon's anti-crime policies. The apparent lack of progress in Mexico in tackling these human rights abuses serves to highlight the breadth of the challenges facing the country, when it comes to consolidating security. 

It remains to be seen what measures, if any, new President Enrique Peña Nieto will take to address the major problems outlined in the report. So far his government has taken one small step: ending the practice of parading organized crime suspects in front of the media, which failed to meet international human rights standards on treatments of detainees.

However, for all of Peña Nieto's talk of breaking with his predecessor's "reactionary" policies and emphasizing reducing violence, under the new president's security strategy the military will remain on the streets for the forseeable future, raising fears that the human rights abuses described above will continue to occur.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EXTORTION / 30 MAR 2022

For restauranteurs in Mexico's coastal state of Quintana Roo, daily extortion fees are unavoidable. Competing cartels lean on the industry…

CONTRABAND / 18 MAY 2022

Cattle from Mexico and the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua help feed the domestic beef markets of…

EXTORTION / 13 JUL 2022

Scammers in Mexico have yet again evolved their modus operandi by using express credit apps to extort users and drain…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…