On 20 November 2018, a bill was introduced to Congress to amend several articles of the Constitution to create a National Guard comprised of military and police personnel. The bill contained several provisions that conflict with international human rights law and standards, such as the proposed executive power to use military personnel outside the relevant and exceptional circumstances, lack of accountability mechanisms, and the maintenance of military courts jurisdiction over certain offenses, which could cover human rights violations.
The bill, as proposed, was criticized by human rights organisations, defenders and activists. After an extensive debate on those criticisms, the Senate introduced several changes in the proposed text to address the most pressing concerns. The reformed bill passed in both chambers of Congress with only one vote against it.
The bill was further approved by a majority of the state-level congresses. The constitutional amendment will enter into force once the government publishes it in the Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación).
This urgent action helped to deliver Amnesty International’s concerns to the Mexican Congress. The strong criticism by the human rights movement and organisations moved Congress to substantially amend the bill and, as a result, Congress suppressed or amended the more contested provisions.