On the morning of June 30, US President Bush signed into law the Iraq Supplemental Funding Bill which includes an amendment allotting USD465 million to Mexico and Central America for anti–drug-trafficking and anti-terrorism measures, also know as the Mérida Initiative. At the signing President Bush commented that the initiative is a “national priority” for the United States. The signing comes four days after the law was approved by the Senate on June 26.
The initiative was originally criticized by the Mexican government for the human rights conditions it included, claiming that they imposed on Mexico’s national sovereignty. After an interparliamentary meeting between the United States and Mexico earlier this month, the bill was revised in Congress and much of the language defining these conditions was softened. The conditions that do remain include a report from the US Secretary of State on the progress of the Mexican judicial system in terms of human rights, an emphasis on police and military cooperation with civil trials for those who have been accused of human rights violations, and the creation of a mechanism for human rights consultation within the context of the initiative. Up to 15% of the funding could be withheld if these measures are not met.
Both international and Mexican social organizations have been critical of the weakened human rights conditions in the initiative and a lack of emphasis on arms trafficking and the narcotics market in the United States. As of the time of writing, there has been no reaction from the Mexican government.
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