Annual Report: Mexico 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Mexico 2013

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United Mexican States

Head of state and government Enrique Peña Nieto

President Calderón's government continued to ignore evidence of widespread human rights violations, such as arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, committed by security and police forces. During his six-year presidency, which ended in December 2012, more than 60,000 people were killed and 150,000 displaced as a result of drug-related violence. Drug cartels and other criminal gangs were responsible for the vast majority of killings and abductions, but often operated in collusion with public officials. The criminal justice system remained gravely flawed with 98% of all crimes going unpunished. Indigenous Peoples were at particular risk of unfair criminal justice proceedings. Migrants in transit were victims of attacks, including abduction, rape and people trafficking. Several journalists and human rights activists were killed, attacked or threatened. A protection mechanism for human rights defenders and journalists was established in law. Violence against women and girls was widespread. Impunity for grave human rights violations committed during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s persisted. The National Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) incorporated human rights obligations into groundbreaking rulings, including restrictions on military jurisdiction. The new government of President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a pact with other political parties, which included some human rights commitments, and made promises to combat continuing high levels of poverty.


In June, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Prevolucionario Institucional, PRI) was elected President and took office in December. The PRI also gained several state governorships and increased its representation in the Federal Congress. The acrimonious election campaign witnessed the emergence of a youth social protest movement, Iam132# (YoSoy132#), critical of the electoral process and the PRI candidate.

Insecurity and violence arising from President Calderón's militarized response to organized crime dominated political debate. In May, a drug cartel was allegedly responsible for leaving 49 dismembered bodies in Caldereyta, Nuevo León state; the identities of the dead had not been established by the end of the year. The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity continued to call for an end to violence and for all those responsible to be held to account. President Calderón's government vetoed the General Law on Victims. The Law, which the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity had promoted and which Congress approved, strengthened the rights of victims of the violence, including the right to reparation. In December, the new government of President Enrique Peña announced that the veto on the law was withdrawn.

In August, despite the failure of Mexican authorities to meet human rights conditions set by the US Congress as part of the Merida Initiative – a regional security co-operation agreement – the US State Department recommended that Congress release the 15% of funds subject to the conditions.

UN thematic committees on racial discrimination, discrimination against women and torture reviewed Mexico's compliance with treaty obligations and issued recommendations during the year. Mexico took some steps to comply with Inter-American Court of Human Rights judgements on the cases of Rosendo Radilla, Inés Fernández, Valentina Rosendo, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera. However, victims continued to demand full compliance.

Public security

Members of the army, navy and the federal, state and municipal police were responsible for widespread and grave human rights violations in the context of anti-crime operations and when operating in collusion with criminal gangs. The government consistently refused to acknowledge the scale and seriousness of the abuses or the lack of credibility of official investigations. Impunity was widespread, leaving victims with little or no redress.