At a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, delivered a memorandum demanding an urgent list of actions to combat entrenched impunity and serious human rights violations.
The meeting focussed on widespread torture, the large number of disappearances, abuses against migrants and refugees, attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, and violence faced by women and indigenous peoples.
“While Mexico is an increasingly important actor on the world stage, not only in economic terms but in the field of human rights, it is failing to deliver at home. I told the President that he must demonstrate he is serious about ensuring human rights not just internationally but for all inside the country as well,” said Salil Shetty.
“The President has the power to address Mexico’s worrying human rights situation. He should take urgent and concrete steps to ensure full respect for human rights for every individual in the country.”
The Secretary General recognized that President Peña Nieto’s new administration had put in place several mechanisms and processes to tackle human rights violations, although implementation and enforcement have been weak. He also acknowledged that the Mexican government had been very open to receiving international human rights monitors from the UN and Amnesty International.
At the same time, Salil Shetty expressed concern that a year after the government recognized that more than 26,000 people had been reported missing or disappeared in the previous six years, the government has still to clarify how many victims of abduction and enforced disappearance are still to be located.
“I visited Saltillo and met relatives of victims of disappearance and abduction from different states. I told the President it is clear that the authorities are still not taking all the actions needed to locate their loved ones or bring to justice those responsible,” said Salil Shetty.
In 2013 the UN Human Rights Council made a series of recommendations to Mexico to improve its human rights record. In March, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government will make a formal announcement on which measures it will adopt. Amnesty International expects it to adopt and implement all recommendations that that are consistent with international human rights standards.
Amnesty International is calling for the President to:
- Make a clear public statement of his administration’s commitment to uphold human rights and fulfil his promise to address grave human rights challenges;
- Guarantee the effective search for victims of disappearance and bring perpetrators to justice, including where public officials are implicated in enforced disappearances;
- Ensure comprehensive measures to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders and journalists at risk and hold to account those responsible for attacks and threats;
- Ensure the human rights of irregular migrants, preventing all forms of violence. All abuses against migrants must be fully investigated and perpetrators held to account.
During his visit to Mexico, the Secretary General also visited Coahuila state, met migrants, relatives of disappearred and the governor of the state. Amnesty International highlighted the failure of state authorities to fulfil their obligations to relatives of disappeared and called for a clear and transparent commitment to locate the victims and hold those responsible to account.
In Mexico City, the Secretary General met other victims of human rights violations, journalists and a wide range of civil society organizations. He also met with the Minister for Interior, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Federal Attorney General, the President of the Supreme Court, the Human Rights Committees of the Senate and Congress and the media.