NGO: Impunity preventing resolution of human rights crisis in Mexico

By Juan Manuel Ramirez

Mexico City, Dec 26 (EFE).- The human rights crisis in which Mexico has been mired for more than a decade has not been reversed in 2021, the same lack of success as in earlier years, due to persistent impunity and violence, civil organizations told EFE.

“The available public indicators confirm it. We’re going to finish out 2021 with more than 35,000 murders during the year, which means that violence has not slacked off and is continuing at very high levels,” the director of the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh), Santiago Aguirre, told EFE in an interview.

In addition, he said that other indicators such as the number of disappeared people “remain at extraordinarily high levels.”

Aguirre said that the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador “cannot speak about the disappearances and the violence as just something inherited from the past. On the contrary, they are a legacy of the present. There have been more than 20,000 people disappeared so far during this administration,” which took office on Dec. 1, 2018.

A report presented in early October by the Mexico Evalua analysis center said that 94.8 percent of the cases reported in Mexico remain unprosecuted as a result of “a system that does not have the tools for prioritization or enough capabilities.”

The report said that the prosecutors offices and their officials have collapsed and that they are launching fewer and fewer investigations.

“On the national level, there are 11 prosecutors, nine experts and 14 ministerial police officers per 100,000 inhabitants, on average,” the organization said.

According to figures from the National Search Commission (CNB), since 1964 Mexico has experienced more then 95,000 disappearances – that is, people who have never been located – the great majority of them since the start of the military’s war on drug trafficking launched in 2006.

Aguirre said that two factors have been of influence in the crisis of violence and human rights violations: the required changes to the justice system have not been made, “the transfer of prosecutors offices to attorney general offices has been disappointing,” and investments have not been made in the area of seeing justice carried out, above all “in the public ministries and prosecutors offices, which is truly the core of impunity in Mexico.”

He added that “It’s not enough to understand the seriousness of the situation reigning in those institutions. Another factor contributing to this crisis being unresolved is the focus on a very centralist and strongly militarized security model.”

Aguirre said that the focus of the current administration “with the armed forces to be the ones taking charge of public safety,” including via … the National Guard, “is not providing the hoped-for results.”

In addition, this poses a risk for human rights because “the strengthening of military activities is happening without the existence of adequate counterweights.”

He said that the National Human Rights Commission is in a “greatly weakened” state and is “losing autonomy, (having) assumed a stance little compatible with the strict monitoring of human rights.”

Despite that, Aguirre emphasized positive actions like the recognition by the undersecretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, “that there is an H.R. crisis in the country” and certain actions by the National Search Commission.

He also stressed the emphasis the current administration has placed on the issue of inequality, a relevant matter for the H.R. agenda, and measures like the labor reform and the increase in salaries,” but he added that “regrettably, those positive actions are not sufficient.”

The Centro Prodh representatives emphasized that after three years of the current administration, one cannot yet say that violence and the human rights crisis are just a legacy of the past.

He said that although it is true that a huge crisis was inherited by the Lopez Obrador government, “it’s also true that so far during the current administration there have been more than 20,000 disappearances and that … (is) the responsibility of the current authorities.”

“After three years of government, this administration cannot continue with the narrative that (it is dealing with) problems of the earlier administrations,” the executive director of Amnesty International Mexico, Edith Olivares Ferreto, said in an interview with EFE.

She said that when Lopez Obrador took office, “Mexico was beset by a human rights crisis from which it has been unable to emerge and which it’s not going to get out of overnight.”

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