National/International: Negotiations for New Trade Deal Between Mexico and EU Conclude; European Civil Society Deems it “Deeply Worrying”

May 5, 2020


On April 28th, it was publicly announced that, after four years, negotiations for a new trade agreement between the European Union and Mexico had ended. The Mexican Ministry of Economy reported that “this concludes the negotiation process of the agreement that began in June 2016. The updated agreement is of the latest generation and includes new disciplines such as energy and raw materials, sustainable development, small and medium-sized companies, good regulatory practices, transparency and anti-corruption, among others.” It still needs to be signed by both parties and the legislative discussion to be approved and enter into force.

The original agreement signed in 2001 left almost all merchandise trade free of tariffs and introduced elements such as Human Rights safeguards, among other elements. Since that date, merchandise trade between the EU and Mexico is estimated to have at least tripled.

Faced with the updating of the agreement, more than 300 European civil society organizations that participated in a caravan on the social and environmental impacts of transnational corporations and free trade in Mexico expressed their deep concern at “the danger to human rights of the Mexican population included in the closing of the new agreement.” They demanded a radical change in European trade and investment policy.

Among their concerns, they expressed that “it would be the first free trade agreement, signed between the European Union and a Latin American country that includes the chapter on investment protection. This implies granting transnational corporations the exclusive right to challenge the democratic decisions of the States, challenging, for example, public interest legislation”, when Mexico is itself “among the six  most sued [countries] in the world by foreign investors before international tribunals.”

They also recalled that “the impacts of free trade agreements and investment protection have generated devastating consequences in Mexico”, including “an alarming situation of environmental and health emergencies.”

They concluded that the European Union “must not only operate a radical change in its international trade policy, stopping the signing of agreements that ensure corporate interests and violate human rights” but also “demonstrate once and for all its commitment, supporting effectively the establishment of binding standards for transnational corporations in the field of human rights.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acuerdo UE-México: Profundamente preocupante para la sociedad civil europea (OSC, 29 de abril de 2020)

México y UE modernizan TLCUEM (El Universal, 29 de abril de 2020)

La UE y México concluyen su nuevo TLC; estaba pendiente la transparencia en licitaciones(Proceso, 28 de abril de 2020)

México y Unión Europea concluyen negociación para modernizar el tratado de libre comercio (El Universal, 28 de abril de 2020)

Concluyen México y Unión Europea modernización de tratado comercial (La Jornada, 28 de abril de 2020)

For more information from SIPAZ:

International/National: CSOs Warn European Union about Human Rights Crisis in Mexico with Modernizing of Global Agreement (June 11, 2017)

National/International: Conclusions of the Fifth High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights between the European Union and Mexico (April 24, 2015)


International: Trial Against German Company for Illegal Sale of Arms to Mexico Ends

March 6, 2019


On February 21st, the trial against the German arms company Heckler & Koch in Stuttgart, for the illegal sale of arms to Mexico ended with sentences for a former head of sales and a member of the administrative staff. Between 2006 and 2009, Heckler & Koch delivered thousands of weapons to Mexico, including 4,219 semi-automatic G-36 rifles, two submachine guns and 1,759 gun barrels that arrived in Jalisco, Chiapas, Chihuahua and Guerrero, states where the export of weapons is prohibited by German law. The company itself will have to return all the profits of these sales amounting to 3.7 million euros (approximately 4.2 million dollars). The two individuals mentioned were sentenced to probation for 22 and 17 months with a fine of 80 thousand euros and 250 hours of social work. Three other employees, two former export managers and a sales assistant manager, were acquitted. The culprits obtained the export permit fraudulently, using false information from the Mexican government regarding the destination of the weapons.

During the sessions not only were there accusations against the German company, but also against politicians and members of the Armed Forces of Mexico, including the director of the Direction of Commercialization of Armament and Ammunition (DCAM in its Spanish acronym), Guillermo Aguilar, who received 117 thousand pesos as an accomplice to the events.

Jürgen Grässlin, activist and initiator of the trial, said that in this way thousands of German weapons were made available to state forces designated as co-opted by organized crime and responsible for serious human rights violations. Human rights organizations stressed that even legally imported weapons will end up in the hands of drug trafficking groups. A serious case of human rights violations in which a link with Heckler & Koch’s weapons was established is that of the 43 missing students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. It has been shown that these weapons were used in the violent events of September 27th, 2014.

Heckler & Koch reacted to the ruling with the promise of “fundamental changes to avoid unfortunate incidents in the future” such as a change in the internal compliance system and “to each potential distribution partner a rigorous compliance audit.” However, they criticized the ruling “that we should not only renounce the profits generated from the business in Mexico, but renounce the total sales price, despite the fact that none of the directors committed the offense.”

Also German pacifist organizations criticized the sentence for judging the company and its employees under the Law of Foreign Trade instead of the Law of Control of Weapons of War. The judges decided that the declaration to end use of arms is not part of the license to export arms, which is why the War Weapons Control Act cannot be applied. “If this ruling is maintained, the current controls on the export of weapons of war and military equipment do not work. You have to develop and introduce a new law to control the export of weapons that is effective”, said the German lawyer Holger Rothbauer. Other criticisms arose due to the absence of sentences against more influential employees. “This is a very clear case of two kinds of justice: the smallest are condemned and the biggest are let go,” said Jürgen Grässlin.

For more information in Spanish:

Multan a empresa alemana de armas usadas en caso de los 43 de Ayotzinapa (El Universal el 21 de febrero de 2019)

Juicio alemán por venta ilegal de armas a México concluye (El Universal el 21 de febrero de 2019)

Un tribunal alemán multa a Heckler & Koch por la exportación ilegal de armas a México (El País el 21 de febrero de 2019)

Condenas en Alemania por venta ilegal de armas a México (La Jornada el 21 de febrero de 2019)

Corte alemana condena a Heckler & Koch por exportar armas ilegalmente a México (Contra Linea el 21 de febrero de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ :

International: Case against for Illegal Sale of Firearms to Mexico by Heckler and Koch Begins (June 25th, 2018)

Guerrero/National/International: New Reports on Ayotzinapa Case (March 27th, 2018)

International/National: CSOs Warn European Union about Human Rights Crisis in Mexico with Modernizing of Global Agreement (June 11th, 2017)

National/Guerrero: “No more arms sales to Mexico” – German Government (March 8th, 2015)


National: Deputies Approve National Guard amid Doubts in the Executive

January 24, 2019

National Guard.png(@Chamber of Deputies)

On January 16th, after a 10-hour session, deputies from the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA in its Spanish acronym, party of the current president), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI in its Spanish acronym) and the Green Party of Mexico approved in general and in particular the constitutional reform created by the National Guard proposed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to fight against insecurity in the country. It passed with 362 votes in favor, 119 against and four abstentions. The proposal indicates that the National Guard will have a civil command in its administration, but it will remain military in its organization and discipline. It also indicates that it will collaborate with the states, local police will be strengthened and its members will be evaluated.

It was taken to the Senate to be analyzed, discussed and eventually ratified. However, the process is taking place in the midst of strong controversy and questions to AMLO and his party, since the campaign had promised to withdraw the armed forces from the streets, an option that seems canceled or postponed.

The representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jan Jarab, expressed in a letter addressed to the Congress of the Union that the approved poposal, even with modifications, is “worrying” in three aspects: the structure of the Guard with a board of military leaders; the improper regulation of the scope of the military jurisdiction; and the provision for detainees. Members of the European Parliament, also called to reject the proposal because “during the last two governments, the strategy of militarization of public safety has resulted in alarming figures of assassinations, torture, forced disappearances and arbitrary detentions.”

Several national and international human rights organizations have expressed criticism in this regard. “The country’s Armed Forces are made for war, not for public security, and have committed very serious abuses against civilians, with widespread impunity”, Human Rights Watch said among others. In a statement, Amnesty International called for the distinction and clear separation of the functions of the civil elements and the military of the Guard and thereby permit the action of military elements only exceptionally, assessed on a case-by-case basis and subject to the limitations imposed by international law. In addition, it made it clear that military elements of the National Guard should not be allowed to participate in crime investigations or act as auxiliaries of the public prosecutor’s office.

The day after the approval, AMLO himself said he was not satisfied with the elimination of the transitory that stated that “as the National Guard develops its structure, capabilities and territorial implementation, the permanent Armed Forces will lend their collaboration for public safety.” “It will remain the same, as if it were a reissue of the Federal Police, which we already know did not work”, he said. Senator Ricardo Monreal reported that the Senate of the Republic will seek to take into account what was proposed by the Executive so that the approval of the law for the National Guard will be postponed for the regular session.

It should be noted that because this is a constitutional reform, the approval of the Chamber of Senators will be required first and then that of at least 17 state congresses.

For more information in Spanish:

Nacional, nuevo fiscal y otras polémicas de AMLO a 50 días de
gobierno (ADN

Político, 19 de enero de 2019)

son los cambios a la Guardia Nacional que tienen insatisfecho a AMLO


Político, 18 de enero de 2019)

pedirá al Senado cambios en Guardia Nacional; Monreal dice que
retomarán peticiones del presidente (Animal

Político, 17 de enero de 2019)

sigue para la Guardia Nacional? Luz verde del Senado, de 17 congresos
estatales y tres leyes restantes (Animal

Político, 17 de enero de 2019)

quitaron transitorio que agrega Fuerzas Armadas a la Guardia
Nacional, se queja AMLO (Sin

Embargo, 17 de enero de 2019)

avalan crear la Guardia Nacional; turnan reforma al Senado (La

Jornada, 16 de enero de 2019)

es la Guardia Nacional, el polémico cuerpo militar de élite con el
que AMLO pretende combatir la violencia en México (BBC

News, 16 de enero de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

National: Public Hearings to Debate the Creation of National Guard Begin (January 15th, 2019)

National/International: UNHCHR Asks Congress for Civil Controlled National Guard and that it Last Five Years Maximum (January 2nd, 2019)

National: Faced with Rejection of National Guard, AMLO Proposes New Consultation (December 12th, 2018)

National: Supreme Court Invalidates Security Law; AMLO Announces National Peace and Security Plan 2018-2024  (November 27th, 2018)

National: CNDH Asks SCJN to Declare Interior Security Law Unconstitutional (November 7th, 2018)

National: Reactions to Minister for Supreme Court’s Proposal on Interior Security Law (November 7th, 2018)

National: AMLO “The Army and the Navy will continue on the streets in internal public security tasks” (September 15th, 2015)


National/International: Mexico – First Country to Ratify TPP-11

May 9, 2018


On April 24th, the Chamber of Senators ratified in plenary session the Integral and Progressive Treaty of Transpacific Association (TPP-11) with 73 votes in favor, 24 against and four abstentions. With this, Mexico became the first country of those that make up this agreement to ratify it. For the treaty to effectively enter into force, it will be necessary for it to be ratified by at least 5 other countries.

The Mexican business sector greeted this new agreement: “Today, businessmen are convinced that its entry into force will benefit Mexican companies, workers and consumers by generating a more competitive and dynamic economy, for the benefit of Mexican families. The countries that are part of the CPTPP constitute 14% of the annual production of the entire world, with which they become one of the largest free trade zones at an international level. This agreement opens the doors to ten Pacific economies to Mexican producers and entrepreneurs, who will have preferential access to these markets. Therefore, new opportunities are created for the generation of formal and better paid jobs in our country.”

In return, the Convergence of Social Organizations and Citizens “México mejor sin TLCs” (Mexico Better Without FTAs), which brings together 200 social organizations, campesinos, trade unions, human rights organizations and academics, demanded in a statement “that this Treaty not be ratified and negotiated in our name without transparency and without public participation.” It said that it requested an “audience with the Presidency of the Senate Board of Directors to express its appreciations and alternatives to the contents of the Treaty that compromise human rights and the care of the land, unfortunately to date we have not been received which deepens concerns.”

It criticized the fact that in less than a month, the senators intend to approve TPP-11, “since it will affect various productive sectors and the guarantees of Mexicans in different areas, including labor and health, without having held public hearings as provided by the Law on the Approval of Commercial Treaties with all sectors involved.”

It attributed the hurry “to the fear of the current government that with the elections of July the composition of the Legislative Power changes and whoever wins the presidency does not endorse the TTP-11.” In addition, it finally noted with concern that “it is feared that with the same hurry and before the new government and the next legislature take office, they intend to approve the recently concluded modernization of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico as well as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that should end in the first week of May.”

For more information in Spanish:

Piden a CNDH intervenga contra ATP por violar las leyes (La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2018)

México se convierte en el primer país en ratificar el TPP-11 (El Financiero, 24 de abril de 2018)

El sector privado celebra la ratificación en el Senado del Tratado Integral y Progresista de Asociación Transpacífico (CCE, 25 de abril de 2018)

Los pros y contras del TPP11 para México (Expansión, 25 de abril de 2018)

Por un modelo económico que ponga al centro los derechos humanos y el cuidado del medio ambiente (Convergencia “México mejor sin TLC’s”, 25 de abril de 2018)

Oaxaca: State government fails to meet with Euro-deputies due to “lack of will” to deal with case of Bety and Jyri

October 10, 2015

Foto @ Página 3Photo @ Página 3

During an official visit from the deputies from the European Parliament who have been following the case of the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, which took place in April 2010 on a humanitarian caravan en route to the Triqui region, no representative of the government of Gabino Cué Monteagudo or even the commissioner for human rights, Eréndira Cruz Villegas, received the Eurodeputies Satu Hassi and Ska Keller. The member of the Finnish Parliament, Satu Hassi, clarified that they had decided to come to Oaxaca “because there have been no advances; there is nothing; nothing has happened. For this reason, my conclusion is that there is a total lack of will” to arrest the perpetrators of these crimes. She stressed that they held meetings with the federal government but not with the Oaxacan state government, as the latter indicated that it was not the right time. Hassi mentioned that although there are accords written and signed between Omar Esparza, the widower of Bety Cariño, the Finnish embassy, and the European Union, as well as between lawyers of the families of the activists and the Oaxacan state authorities, nothing has happened, such that there is no other explanation than lack of interest.

She added that “we see a very similar pattern between the case of Jyri Jaakkola and Bety Cariño and that of the 43 disappeared from Ayotzinapa, because there are large gaps in time before investigations are launched, and the authorities hide evidence or even deliberately destroy it.” She concluded that the cases of the 43 and that of Bety and Jyri are symptoms of the same disease—impunity—such that it is not judicial officials but others who document evidence.

For more information (in Spanish):

Gabino Cué le cierra las puertas a eurodiputadas por caso de Jyri Jaakkola y Bety Cariño; no las recibe (Página 3, 28 de septiembre de 2015)

Diputada finlandesa cuestiona a EPN por no resolver asesinato de activistas en Oaxaca por grupo ligado al PRI (Revolución TRESPUNTOCERO, 29 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 5 years since the murder of human rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (28 April 2015)

Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (1 March 2015)

Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months later, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended (8 February 2015)