December 5, 2013
By Javier Zuñiga, CNN, 12/3/2013
When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto came to power a year ago, he was the new face of the old Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the political machinery that dominated the country for more than 70 years. With his carefully built image of a dynamic young professional, Peña Nieto started his term in office by launching multiple reform initiatives, covering numerous aspects of daily life in the country. He claims that his policies will put Mexico on a promising train to modernity and prosperity. But a year on, what has he really achieved?
One of Peña Nieto’s early commitments was to end the cycle of human rights violations and violence that so characterised former President Felipe Calderon’s administration. Sadly, he has not delivered on that promise: On the Peña Nieto train, human rights have so far had to settle for the third-class carriage.
It’s a story that the Mexican people know all too well. Once again, a new government comes to office making expansive pledges to protect human rights. Once again, it refuses to invest the political capital needed to make a real difference. And once again, the key word in the whole story is impunity.
December 2, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 12/1/2013
To President Enrique Peña Nieto’s supporters, his first year in office has been a time of bold promises kept as he pursues an ambitious agenda of reforms designed, in the long term, to bring peace and economic growth to Mexico.
But in the short term, by many measures, his country remains a mess. Though he promised to focus on Mexico’s economic potential, Peña Nieto has presided over an economy that has hardly grown at all. Though he vowed to reduce the kind of violence that affects innocent citizens, his record has been mixed, with kidnappings and extortion rising nationwide even as the number of homicides drops.
November 20, 2013
The Business Insider 11/19/2013
Violence has increased in Mexico’s prisons and the majority are controlled by inmates, the National Human Rights Commission said.The commission found in an annual report that 65 of the country’s 101 most populated prisons were under the control of convicts in 2012, a 4.3 percent increase from 2011.
November 12, 2013
The Los Angeles Times, 11/10/2013
Usually, human rights activists and victims are on the same side of a conflict. But the case of Israel Arzate has put the two allies in opposite camps in Mexico, a reflection of how the absence of justice distorts reality in this violent country.
Arzate, 28, was one of a small handful of people formally accused by authorities of perpetrating one of the most notorious massacres in recent Mexican history. Fifteen mostly young people were shot to death as they celebrated a soccer victory in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in January 2010.
November 8, 2013
Washington Post, 11/7/2013
Human rights groups hailed on Thursday a Mexican Supreme Court decision to free a man who claimed soldiers tortured him into confessing to having played a role in a drug-related massacre. The court ruled that 28-year-old Israel Arzate Melendez’s confession wasn’t valid because he talked to soldiers rather than prosecutors, as the law requires.
October 30, 2013
BBC News, 10/30/2013
Alberto Patishtan, 41, was convicted in 2002 for the murder of seven policemen in southern Chiapas state during the Zapatista rebel uprising. President Pena Nieto said he would pardon him under a new law which widens the scope of executive reprieves. Human rights groups have argued that Patishtan’s trial was flawed and beset by irregularities.
President Pena Nieto said on his Twitter account that the pardon would come into effect on Thursday, when the new law comes into force. The law, which allows for leniency in cases in which the convict’s human rights are considered to have been violated, was passed on Tuesday.
October 29, 2013
Washington Times, 10/29/2013
Immigrant advocates on Monday asked international human rights monitors to step in and oversee the Obama administration’s deportation policies, saying the U.S. is violating international standards both in how it detains people and who it chooses to deport.
Testifying to the Organization of American States‘ human rights commission, advocates said the U.S. government doesn’t take into account family hardships when it decides to apprehend and deport illegal immigrants, and it said the administration treats illegal immigrants like criminals when it detains them.
October 25, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor, 10/24/2013
Article 33 of the Mexican Constitution permits the president to discretionally expel anyone deemed non grata. It also prohibits the participation of foreigners in Mexican matters – mainly politics.
But President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed reining in some of the excesses of Article 33. He sent a constitutional amendment on Tuesday to the Senate, which would allow anyone ordered out of the country the right to a hearing in which they can present evidence, consult legal council, and receive consular assistance. They can also seek injunctions known as “amparos” against unfavorable outcomes – previously unattainable since the Supreme Court would traditionally defer to the president. The proposal would allow Mexico to adhere to its international obligations in human rights matters, along with providing “minimum conditions to assure the adequate protection of [foreigners’] rights, that’s to say, due process.”
October 24, 2013
Mexico must rein in its security forces to stop them committing grave crimes against civilians, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council said on Wednesday.
At a hearing in Geneva, European and some Latin American countries were the most vocal in their criticism, and in demanding that Mexico thoroughly investigate all disappearances, particularly of women and migrants.
September 30, 2013
Al Jazeera , 9/29/2013
Mexico’s mountain of unsolved disappearances continues to rise despite President Enrique Pena Nieto’s promise to tackle the problem which has devastated thousands of families since 2006. The disappearance of four people within six days close to the US border recently exposed the cruel mix of state corruption and organised crime still blighting the lives ordinary folks on Mexico’s mean streets.
“Mexico today has the worst crisis of disappearances in Latin America, arguably the world,” Nik Steinberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera. “That there is still no single unified definition and many state authorities have no idea how to investigate disappearances shows the government has failed to take the problem seriously.”