Mexico/US: Merida Inititative. Interviews and reporting from SIPAZ

August 20, 2008

[Source: Amnesty International USA]

SIPAZ recently conducted an interview with Luis Arriaga Valenzuela, director of the Agustín Juarez Pro Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh) in Mexico City, on the topic of human rights with regard to the Merida Initiative. He spoke at length on Centro Prodh’s belief that the subject of human rights should be “a core theme” within the Merida Initiative negotiations. However, Arriaga stated that there is indeed a lack of human rights language in the plan. Centro Prodh’s stance is that there should be included the “creation of a mechanism between government authorities and the civil society, including NGO’s that specialize in human rights, in order to implement the Merida Initiative with higher standards of protection” for fundamental guarantees.

Arriaga pointed out the findings in a recent study published by Centro Prodh on human rights violations perpetrated by military personnel. One disturbing discovery uncovered in the report is the statistic that shows that the majority of the victims of human rights violations due to military actions were women and minors. He stated the importance of trying military personnel in civil courts as opposed to military tribunals, where civilian victims have little or no access to justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mexico: “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime.” Statement from Edgar Cortez (Red TDT)

August 19, 2008

Edgar Cortez presents the “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” campaign at Centro Prodh

Edgar Cortez, Executive Secretary of the National Network of Civil Organizations for Human Rights ‘All Rights for All’ (Red TDT, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos), spoke on the organization’s national campaign “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” at the First National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Family Members of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience which took place July 24 through 26 in Mexico City.

The introduction to his comments touched on the poverty in Mexico as well as the lack of human rights vigilance stating that “there is not only an economic inequality, but rather this inequality is translated into an inequality of the possibility of enjoying all of one’s rights.” His remarks revolved around the recent constitutional reforms of the Mexican judicial system which were approved on June 18 of this year. While Cortez admits that there are some good changes made in the reform, the definition of “organized crime” has been extended so broadly that it may very well be applied to social protest and social activists. His presentation refers to the fact that “the full weight of the law” is used against social protest without evidence or the guarantee of due process.” The presentation also claims that “in Mexico, rights are used to ‘mistreat those they should care for, persecute those they should protect, ignore those they should pay more attention to and serve those they should control.’”

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