HomeNewsBriefMexico to Take More Responsibility for Child Recruitment by Criminal Gangs
BRIEF

Mexico to Take More Responsibility for Child Recruitment by Criminal Gangs

HUMAN RIGHTS / 27 FEB 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The Mexican government is to accept its responsibilities towards children recruited by criminal gangs and other non-state armed actors, reversing a long-standing objection to a United Nations resolution.

The UN's Optional Protocol on the rights of children in armed conflict calls on governments to recognize recruitment of minors into armed groups as illegal and accept their obligation to "adopt all possible measures to prevent this recruitment and utilization." At the time, Mexico subscribed to the resolution, but with the objection -- or "interpretative declaration" -- that the responsibility for child recruitment by non-state armed groups "lies solely with such groups" and not with the Mexican government.

After 12 years of maintaining this position, in February 2013 Mexico’s Senate reversed the decision, stating that "the Mexican state is judicially obligated to comply with the protocol."

The decision represents a turnaround from last year, when in a report to the UN Committee on Children’s Rights, the state claimed there was no child recruitment in Mexico by armed groups, as the country was not in an armed conflict -- going against the committee's perspective, which included organized crime in its definition of non-state armed actors.

InSight Crime Analysis

By reversing its position towards the UN protocol, this arguably represents the beginning of renewed commitment from Mexico to battle child recruitment by criminal gangs. This could increase pressure on the government to better track the problem and develop demobilization and reinsertion programs for minors. 

The Network for Children’s Rights (Red por los Derechos de la Infancia) -- a civil society organization that works with child recruits -- said that between 20,000 and 30,000 Mexican children and adolescents are exploited by and directly benefit drug trafficking organizations, reported Animal Politico.

Recruitment of children by drug trafficking organizations and gangs in Mexico is well-documented, with children between the ages of 11 to 17 commonly used to carry out drug trafficking and surveillance operations. The testimony of a 12-year-old in early February also highlighted the use of children as hired assassins by Mexican gangs.

Children are viewed as attractive recruits by criminal groups as they are more difficult to prosecute or sanction. As a result, the phenomenon has become a region-wide problem, and is rife in countries like Colombia and Guatemala.

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

MEXICO / 27 JUN 2013

Mexico’s president has sent new reforms to Congress aimed at cracking down on money laundering, but the measures’ potential…

CONTRABAND / 18 MAY 2022

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

MEXICO / 10 MAR 2014

A newspaper in western Mexico that was investigating links between "El Chapo" Guzman and the security forces has reported being…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…