The USA and Mexico hold Bilateral Talks on Human Rights

April 14, 2014

barbed wire fenceMexidata, 4/11/14

The United States and Mexico held the 6th round of the Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights in Mexico City on April 3.  Mexico and the United States agreed to seek new opportunities to work together to protect and promote human rights.  Respect for human rights is a priority for both governments, which value their ability to maintain a frank, results-based and constructive dialogue on these issues.

The meeting covered a wide range of bilateral human rights issues, including developments and strategies in the field of human rights. Topics addressed included the prevention of torture and disappearances, military justice, human rights in the fight against terrorism, and violence against women and persons with disabilities.  In addition, each delegation presented views on freedom of expression and actions to protect journalists and human rights defenders.  They exchanged views on issues regarding the death penalty and consular notification. The human rights of migrants and those pertaining to vulnerable migrant groups were also addressed. The delegations discussed the value of improved cooperation at their shared border to reduce incidences of violence.

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UN: Mexico must address dire human rights situation with concrete actions not rhetoric

March 25, 2014

shutterstock_102739391Amnesty International, 3/19/14

Mexico must put into action the promises it makes to the United Nations Human Rights Council tomorrow if it is to address the dire human rights situation in the country, Amnesty International said today.

“Effective long-lasting measures have to be taken to address ongoing patterns of disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions as well as routine attacks on men and women defending human rights, journalists and migrants. Mexico must not fail again to uphold its commitments to the international community,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Tomorrow Mexico will announce to Human Rights Council members which of their 176 recommendations it will adopt. In 2009, during its last appearance before this human rights body, Mexico said it would implement the majority of recommendations. However, it then failed to take action in many areas to prevent the human rights crisis, which continues to this day.

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Homeland Security blacked out recommendation on Border Patrol restraint

January 29, 2014

shutterstock_24590917Washington Post, 1/28/14

It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.

But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Human rights a third class passenger on Mexico’s train – Op Ed

December 5, 2013

handcuffsBy 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.

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After president’s first year, Mexico still a mess by many measures

December 2, 2013

Los Angeles Times, 12/1/2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2To 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.

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The Majority Of Mexico’s Prisons Are Controlled By Inmates

November 20, 2013

The Business Insider 11/19/2013

prisonViolence 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.

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Activists cheer release of Mexico massacre suspect

November 12, 2013

handcuffsThe 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.

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Rights groups applaud Mexico’s top court for freeing man who claimed confession due to torture

November 8, 2013

Washington Post, 11/7/2013

Mexican Supreme CourtHuman 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.

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Mexico to pardon indigenous teacher Alberto #Patishtan

October 30, 2013

BBC News, 10/30/2013

Enrique PeñaNieto 2Alberto 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.

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Immigration advocates want human rights monitors to oversee U.S. deportations

October 29, 2013

handcuffsWashington 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.

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