Mexico Still Waiting for Real Advances on Human Rights After Peña Nieto’s First 100 Days

Press Release
March 5, 2013

Mexico Still Waiting for Real Advances on Human Rights After Peña Nieto’s First 100 Days

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As President Enrique Peña Nieto completes his first 100 days in office, the few human rights measures his government has taken on simply do not match the gravity of Mexico’s challenges.

“Mexico’s current administration is on an alarming trajectory of déjà vu,” said Adotei Akwei, government relations managing director, Amnesty International USA. “Unless President Peña Nieto markedly deviates from his predecessor by immediately implementing concrete measures to fully promote and protect human rights—some of which he’s already made a commitment to do—the consequences may be unfathomable for an already devastated population.”

In December 2012, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty wrote to President Peña Nieto to ask for immediate action on a range of serious human rights issues. To date, there has not been a substantive response. The human rights organization called for a radical change to both public security policies and practice—to ensure the end of grave abuses such as torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and for perpetrators to face justice.

Peña Nieto made commitments to carry out the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on Torture in November 2012, but so far, there is little evidence of action.

While there has been some legislative progress regarding a victims’ law, implementation still remains pending. In addition, many thousands of victims of crime and human rights violations over the last six years, including the thousands of disappeared and missing, remain without access to justice and reparations. Mexican authorities are currently discussing various policy reforms, but there is no evidence that the prevention of and accountability for human rights violations are at the heart of these proposals.

Considerations on eliminating detention without charge – arraigo – are also positive, but again, there have been no concrete steps to abolish this practice. On military jurisdiction, neither the central government nor the legislature has taken steps to reform Mexico’s Code of Military Justice as required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Mexico’s Supreme Court rulings limiting military jurisdiction have also not been backed up with any legislative support.

On issues such as migrant abuses, violence against women, protection of human rights defenders and journalists, and discrimination against indigenous communities, Mexican authorities must deliver actions and measurable progress, not just words.

“President Peña Nieto must demonstrate to the thousands of people affected by years of unjust policies and practices that he truly cares about the human rights of the Mexican people, by putting human rights protection at the very heart of his political agenda and ensuring the full participation of civil society while doing so,” said Akwei.

In October 2012, Amnesty International’s report “Known Abusers, But Victims Ignored” highlights the alarming increase in torture and ongoing impunity that has not received any type of response from the Mexican government.

For additional information, photographs, and video, please see: http://bit.ly/YNOFme.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.