Some days ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a new report entitled “Neither security nor rights: executions and torture in the war on drug-trafficking in Mexico,” which indicates that members of the armed forces “have participated in more than 170 cases of torture, 39 disappearances, and 24 extrajudicial executions since the time in which Felipe Calderón became president in December 2006.” The report is the fruit of two years of investigations in five of the most violent states of the country: Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nuevo León, and Tabasco. For its publication, more than 200 interviews were carried with a broad spectrum of governmental functionaries, members of the security forces, victims, witnesses, human-rights defenders, and other actors. Official statistics were also analyzed, data was obtained through public-information requests, and evidence was examined, as were legal processes and denunciations of human-rights violations.
In its press-release, the organization stresses that “In light of this analysis, Human Rights Watch came to observe that there exists a policy of public security that seriously fails in two aspects. It has not only failed in reducing levels of violence, but it has also generated a drastic increase in the number of human-rights violations which are almost never adequately investigated. This is to say that in place of strengthening public security in Mexico, the ‘war’ launched by Calderón has succeeded in exacerbating a climate of violence, lack of control, and fear in many parts of the country.”
The HRW report stresses that if the incidence of human-rights violations has increased drastically within the context of the war on drugs, the same has not occurred with the investigation and judging of these affairs, given that of the 997 open investigations on the part of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) into murders related to organized crime between 2007 and August 2011, federal judges have condemned only 22 for homicide and other crimes related to organized crime. Furthermore, of the 89 previously open PGR investigations into torture from 1994 to June 2010, only two people have been condemned, a tendency that reveals the profundity of the problem and the fact that judicial investigations are much lacking in the country.
The HRW report has found common cause with deputies, senators, and leaders of political parties. On 8 November, José Miguel Vivanco, representative of HRW, met with President Calderón, who told him once again that “Mexico is not at war,” that the campaign against organized criminals is being carried out “with the strict observance of the law” and that the principal threat for human rights continues to be criminal elements.
For more information (in Spanish):
Torpeza de Calderón, descalificar el informe de HRW: legisladores (La Jornada, 11 November)
El legado de Calderón (Milenio, 11 November 2011)
Informe de HRW divide a legisladores (Milenio, 11 November 2011)
Lamentan PRI y Verde en Congreso visión de HRW sobre la lucha contra el narco (Milenio, 10 November 2011)
PAN discrepa con informe de Human Right Watch (El Universal, 10 November 2011)
“No estamos en guerra”, precisa gobierno a HWR (Milenio, 10 November 2011)
HRW: Guerra de Calderón detonó violencia y abusos (El Universal, 10 November 2011)
Respalda Episcopado estrategia calderonista contra el crimen (La Jornada, 10 November 2011)
Documenta HRW el fracaso de la guerra anticrimen de Calderón (La Jornada, 10 November)
Ven fallas en labor de defensores de derechos (El Universal, 10 November)
HRW presenta hoy informe sobre derechos humanos (El Universal, 9 November)
Documenta HRW a PGR 24 ejecuciones extrajudiciales (La Jornada, 9 November)
Es crimen quien viola derechos: Calderón a HRW (El Universal, 9 November 2011)
“Ni seguridad, ni derechos: Ejecuciones, desapariciones y tortura en la guerra contra el narcotráfico en México” (complete HRW report, November 2011)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Mexico: Mexico undergoes the Universal Periodic Review (13 February 2009)