Oct 7, 2015

Peña must recognize the human rights crisis: NGOs

Proceso: In response to the federal government’s downgrading of the preliminary report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), civil society organizations demanded that President Enrique Peña Nieto recognize the human rights crisis in the country, and invited him to take into serious consideration the conclusions and recommendations issued by the experts.

In a statement, dozens of organizations expressed regret for "the media’s damage control logic" encouraged by the Peña Government through the Undersecretary for Human Rights of the Ministry of Interior, Roberto Campa. Hours after the IACHR released the first results of its on-site visit, Campos said the report "does not reflect the reality of the country", because it was the product of "meetings and interviews" in six states for five days.

For the signatories, "what’s puzzling about Friday (October 2) is not the preliminary assessment of the Commission, but that the federal government has denied the seriousness of the current situation, even characterizing victims of enforced disappearance as 'cases of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 '—while these past cases are still important, 12,000 people were disappeared from 2013 until mid-2015, according to official figures. "

And "the government did not cite specific question about the data and information submitted by the Commission, usually derived not only from testimony but official statistics".

They explained further that so far the administration, "the IACHR held 23 public hearings on Mexico, where the State has been involved; in 2014 they knew of 130 cases requests and Mexican cases of admissibility and merits; continuously they received reports from government and non-governmental sources; precautionary measures and monitoring and compliance with recommendations in several states, and has held numerous meetings with victims, organizations and authorities," among other activities.

According to the organizations, it is contradictory that after the disqualification, the federal government claims to be willing to "open doors and take on challenges" regarding human rights.

After lamenting the reaction of the government of Peña Nieto to the "preliminary conclusions regarding structural problems" experienced by Mexicans, the activists recalled that "the invitation to observe that the government gave the Commission has the regulatory effect of preventing the incorporation of Mexico in Chapter IV of the next annual report of the agency (dedicated to the analysis of the most serious situations in the region), "chapter where, for example, Venezuela has been confined to for years.”

Noting that "the invitation itself can be understood as an action to care for the international image of the State", they warned that it is well known by the current administration that the findings of the site visits are not the result of meetings held over five days, but the accumulation of information in recent years.

For undersigned organizations and personalities, if indeed the government of Peña Nieto seeks to "open doors and take on challenges," they must begin by "stopping the disqualification of agencies and experts documenting the reality of the country."

The next step, they said, is "to take the conclusions and recommendations as valuable inputs and recognizing the nature of the current crisis to then implement policies, programs, laws and above all practices that lead to effective access to truth, justice, reparation and reduced human rights violations throughout the country. "

Among those who signed the document are: Elena Azaola, the Center for Research and Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS); Miguel Sarre, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and Alejandra Gonza, director of the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Washington.

The text is also signed by the 75 organizations that make up the Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations All Rights for All (Red TDT), which joined Freedom House, Just Associates, Fundar Center for Analysis and Research Group Information and Reproductive Choice, Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights, Institute for Security and Democracy, among other groups.

Translation by the Americas Program 

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