Mexico Human Rights
Continued police and military violence; assaults on human rights defenders
The overwhelming issue affecting Mexican society is undoubtedly the increase in violence and homicides since 2006. According to the General Attorney’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República-PGR), there were 12,456 homicides in 2010, and a cumulative of 30,196 homicides since December 2006 when Felipe Calderón became president of Mexico and deployed military forces to combat drug cartels.
The number of deaths in 2010 represents 41.2% of the total number of homicides since 2006, thus 2010 represents the worst year in violence experienced by the Mexicans. In Ciudad Juarez the number of homicides for 2010 is expected to surpass 3,100.
Recent reports of mass abduction of Central American migrants have prompted the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador to call on the Mexican government for accountability for the treatment of migrants crossing Mexico.
Human Rights Concerns
AI continues to receive reports of serious human rights violations committed by members of the military. Federal, state and municipal police forces also continue to commit serious human rights violations in several states. Women experience high levels of gender-based violence with little access to justice. Irregular migrants are at high risk of abduction and murder, by criminal gangs and abuse and extortion by corrupt Mexican officials. Women migrants are often raped. Journalists and human rights defenders are killed, harassed or face fabricated criminal charges. Marginalized communities whose lands are sought for economic development are at risk of harassment, forced eviction or denial of their right to adequate information and consultation.
Defending human rights can be a life-threatening job in Mexico. Scores of activists have suffered death threats, intimidation, and harassment in the last few years. Some of them have been killed for doing their job. The authorities have recognized that adopting and implementing an effective and comprehensive protection programme (mecanismo de protección), as requested by human rights defenders, is paramount. However, they are yet to fulfill their promise.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued ground-breaking rulings against Mexico in several cases involving grave human rights violations. The Court reiterated Mexico’s obligation - still not discharged – to stop applying military justice when investigating and prosecuting members of the army for human rights violations. The Inter-American Court already laid down the obligation to amend the Military Justice Code to this end in its judgment of November 2009 on the Radilla Pacheco case. The Court also reiterated that Mexican judges have a duty to ensure that their rulings comply with inter-American jurisprudence. The Court has judgments on 7 Mexican cases since 2004, three of them in 2010.