National: Activists criticize attempt by Court to limit reach of international treaties

September 16, 2013

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Photo @Carlos Ramos Mamahua

The attempt by some justices of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) to constrain the place of international human-rights agreements when they contradict the Magna Carta is an regressive attitude that practically could serve to nullify the advances seen in the constitutional reforms of June 2011, social activists have warned.  On 1 September, Edgar Cortez, investigator for the Mexican Institute on Human Rights and Democracy (IMDHD) indicated that if the highest court in the country limits the reach of international treaties, “we will regress to a time before the constitutional reforms on human rights, such that the conventions would be subordinated to the Constitution.”  Raúl Ramírez Baena, director of the Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights in the Northeast, said that “the call to control conventionality obligates all the authorities of the countries, particularly judges, to find the broadest legal protection for human rights, including that for international agreements, but this attempt would effectively cause all to be nullified.  Litigants would be able to refer only to the text of the Constitution.”

In terms of this discussion, persons and human-rights organizations have stressed in an open letter that “the resolution adopted by the Court will directly impact the consolidation of the constitutional reform of 2011, in terms of hte system of protection of basic rights in the country and thus the lives of millions of Mexicans.”  As the letter mentions, “We make an energetic call to the Supreme Court justices to recognize that all persons enjoy the human rights recognized at the national and international levels, and we call on them to take an appropriate position with the object and text of the human-rights reform in mind, thus avoiding a restrictive or regressive interpretation.  From the decision of the SCJN will depend the advance of the effective realization of basic rights in Mexico.”
Similarly, Amnesty International in its web page calls on “the justices to guarantee that their decision accord with the reform of the first article of the Constitution which took place in 2011, thus confirming the place of the principle pro persona, that is to say, the application of the norm which will be most favorable to the protection of the person in case of a conflict between the Constitution and international human-rights treaties.”
For more information (in Spanish):

Critican activistas intento de la Corte de limitar convenios internacionales (La Jornada, 31 de agosto de 2013)

La Suprema Corte debe reafirmar los avances constitucionales en la protección de los derechos humanos (Amnistía Internacional, 2 de septiembre de 2013)

Llaman a la SCJN a confirmar el sentido original de la reforma en DH (Centro ProDH, 2 de septiembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: Constitutional reform on human rights approved (2 June 2011)

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