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The only way to bring peace

The single coincidence of all advanced democracies is their respect for human rights
 The only way to bring peace
Protester holding a sky lantern reading: “The road to peace is justice” - Photo: Rodolfo Angulo/CUARTOSCURO.COM
23/04/2018
08:48
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The single coincidence of all advanced democracies, of all the countries which have managed to secure the basic welfare of their citizens, is the respect for human rights. In Mexico, unfortunately, both leaders and citizens find it hard to understand that this basic principle of civility is necessary to achieve the other goals which are being prioritized, such as security and social justice.

In the debate which took place yesterday between the presidential candidates, the subject of human rights was one of the least discussed; nevertheless, the way in which candidates plan to address our most pressing concerns shall determine, to a great extent, the success or failure of the candidate who triumphs on election day.

Part of the reason why security levels in Mexico have been unable to improve in the past ten years is due to the strategy against crime that most federal, state and local administrations have implemented – focusing on increasing the use of armed forces without reinforcing the necessary guarantees to ensure innocent people aren't caught in the crossfire.

When people complain, blinded by fury, that a prisoner has been released because their human rights weren't respected, they fail to understand this is precisely the rule – which requires police officers and prosecutors to act without brutality – protecting us all from being accused of a crime without evidence. And not only that: a criminal proceeding which respects the rights of the accused is also a guarantee to the victims and the citizenry, a guarantee that justice will be done and that those responsible will pay, and not anyone who has been used as a scapegoat.

The history of Mexican “justice” is full of innocents who have been imprisoned by governments desperate to pacify public opinion which only sought guilty parties, not evidence.

According to the Security Dossier published today in this newspaper, human rights advocates caution that “gatopardism” (maintaining a situation as is making cosmetic changes) has ruled in official speeches. Public servants are content to say laws have been changed although their application doesn't improve our situation.

If the next president wants to bring peace and justice, the only way to do so is to ensure human rights are respected. The easy way, the one of chasing with a cudgel anyone who gets in the way, is only a temporal way to placate the desire of revenge but will not bring peace to all.

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