UN cautions about risks of passing the Law on Internal Security

The Law may increase violence and insecurity in Mexico, according to the Organization
Brussels, Belgium
Inder Bugarin
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The High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, has urged the Senate of the Mexican Republic not to pass the proposed Law on Internal Security.

According to the UN official, it's “deeply worrying” to have the Armed Forces engaged in law enforcement.

“Adopting a new legal framework to regulate the operations of the armed forces in internal security is not the answer,” said the High Commissioner through a statement. “The current draft law risks weakening incentives for the civilian authorities to fully assume their law enforcement roles.”

The main concerns about the Law are that, if approved, the legislation would allow for civilian authorities to be under the command of the armed forces under certain circumstances and that there aren't “adequate controls” or assurances in line with international human rights standards against the “unlawful, arbitrary or excessive use of force.”

On this matter, the High Commissioner said that while he recognized the “huge security challenge” Mexico is facing, in the decade following the deployment of the armed forces, “violence has not abated and many human rights violations and abuses” – namely, extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances – “continue to be committed by various State and non-State actors.”

The proposed law could become a point of no return in the strategy to fight organized crime, and the High Commissioner mentioned that in 2015, Mexican authorities had committed to gradually replacing the armed forces with a better-prepared police force, both at a federal and local level.

For their part, Amnesty International has cautioned that passing the Law on Internal Security would set a negative precedent in Latin America and would nullify the profess on human rights and the accusatory criminal justice system.

Several human rights organizations in both, Mexico and the United States, have urged Mexican Senators not to pass the Law, which they claim would only extend a failed security model instead of providing a professional and improved policy on internal security.

A statement signed by over 100 organizations – including the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Mexico Unoyed against Crime (MUCD) – have stressed that impunity and corruption rates of the country demand from authorities and citizens a “high degree of responsibility” to take the measures the country needs.


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