Impunity for human rights abuses remains a problem in Mexico: U.S.

According to the 2014 Human Rights report published by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State, prosecution for all forms of crime is extremely low in Mexico.

Secretary John Kerry submitted the 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices to the U.S. Congress today. (Reuters)
English 25/06/2015 15:32 J. Jaime Hernández / Corresponsal Actualizada 15:32

Impunity for human rights abuses remains a problem throughout Mexico with extremely low rates of prosecution for all forms of crime, according to the Mexico 2014 Human Rights report published by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. Department of State.

It added that "impunity and corruption remained serious problems, particularly at the state and local levels, in the security forces, and in the judicial sector."

According to the report, "significant human rights-related problems included police and military involvement in serious abuses, such as unlawful killings, torture, disappearances, and physical abuse."

Civil society organizations, the United Nations, and the country’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) reported the following additional problems: poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; threats and violence against human rights defenders and journalists; abuse of migrants; domestic violence; trafficking in persons; abuse of persons with disabilities; social and economic discrimination against some members of the indigenous population; threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; and exploitation of child labor.

Tlatlaya, Ayotzinapa

In its report, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor highlighted the cases of Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa:

On June 30, elements of the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) clashed with suspected criminals in Tlatlaya in the state of Mexico. Subsequently, civil society groups called on the government to investigate the shootout in which 22 suspects were killed, some allegedly after surrendering. The Office of the Attorney General (PGR) and SEDENA both initiated investigations.

The PGR charged Fernando Quintero Millán, Roberto Acevedo López, and Leobardo Hernández Leonides with homicide, tampering with evidence, and abuse of authority. The PGR charged one lieutenant and four additional soldiers with lesser charges.

During the night of September 26, a group of students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college, in the state of Guerrero, engaged in demonstrations that turned violent. During at least three separate events, local police and members of United Warriors (Guerreros Unidos), an organized criminal gang, attacked the students. Some of the students escaped, but others were taken into custody.

Three of the students were later found dead, including one whose face was skinned off and eyes gouged out. Stray bullets during the confrontations killed three bystanders - a bus driver, a 15-year-old, and a woman in a taxi. Over the next few days, some of the students emerged from hiding, but by October 2, a total of 43 students remained missing.

In a statement on October 21, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam announced the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, had personally ordered the disappearance of protesting students on September 26. Abarca, his wife, and his security chief went missing after he took a leave of absence from his office on September 30. Abarca was expelled from his political party; the government stripped him of executive immunity, and on November 4, authorities apprehended him in Mexico City.

By the end of the year, officials had identified the remains of one student, and 42 other students remained unaccounted for. The government continued its investigation, including with technical assistance from the Organization of American States and foreign countries. Federal forces dispatched to that part of Guerrero assumed security responsibilities in a number of municipalities. The governor of Guerrero resigned, and a new governor was named. According to government officials, authorities arrested dozens of police and cartel members on charges related to the crimes in Iguala.

On October 19, Ricardo de Jesús Esparza Villegas, a 23-year-old university student in Guanajuato, died after he was arrested. Witnesses alleged municipal police beat him. The CNDH opened an investigation into the case.

On June 12, the CNDH announced it had reopened its investigation of the 2010 killing of 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. After the CNDH issued its initial recommendations on the case in 2013, the families of the victims filed an injunction (amparo) against the CNDH, saying its investigation was inadequate and had violated their human rights. On June 6, federal courts denied a CNDH appeal and upheld the injunction.


The report added that "as of August 31, the CNDH processed 445 complaints of cruel or degrading treatment and 552 complaints of torture. The CNDH issued 10 recommendations in cases of cruel and degrading treatment and two recommendations in cases of torture."