Human rights violations widespread in Mexico, says HRW

Mexico has relied heavily on the military to fight drug-related violence and organized crime, leading to widespread human rights violations by military personnel, according to Human Rights Watch.
Nobody was ever convicted in the horrific Tlatlaya massacre, in which several soldiers are accused of killing 22 civilians and the State of Mexico prosecutor is accused of using torture to cover up the military wrongdoing. (EL UNIVERSAL/file photo)
Teresa Moreno
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Widespread human rights violations perpetrated by the Mexican army is a common strategy that the federal government relies on to fight drug-related violence and organized crime, with Mexico's armed forces regularly torturing detainees in illegal detention centers or military bases, according to the Human Rights Watch's World Report 2017.

Mexico has relied heavily on the military to fight drug-related violence and organized crime, leading to widespread human rights violations by military personnel, says the report.

The report continues by saying that “as of July, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) had received almost 10,000 complaints of abuse by the army since 2006—including more than 2,000 during the current administration.”

In addition, the report found that in more than 100 cases, military personnel committed serious human rights violations, and when compared to its 2016 report, the number of human rights violations are on the rise.

During a conference in Washington, D.C., the CEO of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, said that statistics in Mexico indicate that the rate of violence in the country is reaching the historic highs registered in 2012 during Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's administration.

This, he claims, is due to the Armed Force's involvement in the fight against organized-crime, corruption in Mexico's police forces and the government's failure to defend the rule of law. He continued by saying that this trend led to the most reported example, the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping.

He also said at the conference that not only did the government fail to do anything to stop this from happening, but they actively obstructed investigation efforts aimed at uncovering the truth.

With regards to the military justice, the report say that “in the case of Tlatlaya, where soldiers killed 22 civilians in 2014—witnesses and the CNDH reported that they extrajudicially executed at least 12 of them—nobody has been convicted of the killings. In May 2016, a civilian, federal court absolved the last of eight soldiers charged with homicide at Tlatlaya.”

“According to the CNDH, Mexico State prosecutors sought to cover up military wrongdoing in the Tlatlaya case by using torture to coerce false testimony from witnesses. In July, authorities said they would fire seven or eight investigators and suspend 22 others—for as little as a month—for misconduct, but nobody has been convicted in connection with the cover-up,” concluded the report.

Click here for the Human Right Watch's full World Report 2017:

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