HomeNewsBriefReports of Army Human Rights Abuses Plummet in Mexico
BRIEF

Reports of Army Human Rights Abuses Plummet in Mexico

HUMAN RIGHTS / 23 FEB 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Authorities in Mexico say complaints of human rights abuses perpetrated by the army decreased dramatically over two years, but a recent massacre carried out by Mexican soldiers indicates that the data may not tell the whole story.

At a commemoration of Army Day on February 19, Mexico's Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos said the number of army abuses reported to the country's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) dropped by over 60 percent between 2012 and 2014, reported Milenio. In 2012, the CNDH received 1,450 complaints of human rights abuses by members of the army, compared to just 570 last year (see graph below). 

Cienfuegos also noted that only four -- or 0.2 percent -- of the complaints against the army reported during the last two years were verified by the CNDH, reported Informador.

At the event, President Enrique Peña Nieto stated that "the honor of our armed forces is above any suspicion or doubt." 

InSight Crime Analysis

At first glance, the remarkable drop in complaints of abuse lodged against the Mexican army would suggest that authorities are finally reigning in the excessive use of force by security personnel during the country's drug war, which began in 2006 under former President Felipe Calderon.

Maureen Meyer, Senior Associate for Mexico at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), told InSight that after taking office in December 2012, Peña Nieto withdrew military forces -- a principal source of abuses in Mexico -- from some areas of the country, and also put a greater emphasis on respecting human rights. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

However, it is unlikely Peña Nieto's security reforms were sweeping enough to cause such a dramatic decrease in human rights abuses by the army. The CNDH's findings that soldiers massacred at least 15 individuals in June 2014, as well as allegations that the Mexican army may have been involved in the disappearances of 43 students who went missing last September, suggest military abuses remain a major concern under Peña Nieto's administration. 

What's more, the CNDH may not have sufficient autonomy to accurately report the number of abuses perpetrated by security forces. The former Ombudsman of the CNDH, Raul Plascencia, has been hesitant to criticize Peña Nieto on human rights, according to Meyer, who said, "this drop [in reports of abuses] may have less to do with a change on the ground and more to do with how the CNDH was registering cases or certifying complaints."

An unknown number of human rights abuse cases went unreported due to a lack of trust in the CNDH to conduct a thorough investigation or because victims were pressured by the military not to file the report, Meyer added. 

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

HAITI / 3 MAY 2021

A new report by Harvard Law School and a Haitian crime observatory has confirmed government officials and police actively facilitated…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

In 1989, Los Angeles police transformed Europe's cocaine trade when they broke open a padlock guarding a Californian warehouse.

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 19 MAR 2021

A recent report from the US-Mexico border revealed that human smuggling organizations have begun giving special bracelets to undocumented migrants,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…