Feb 13, 2012

Human Rights Violations: Mexico will respond to the UN on violation of the rights of indigenous

Milenio: "The Mexican government will have to respond tomorrow, Tuesday, to the UN regarding the systematic violation of the rights of indigenous people, despite their legal status. It will also have to respond as to why it does not respect the rights of migrant workers who cross its territory .

These two questions are the focus of a periodic review regarding the Mexican state carried out by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination during two sessions taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday in Geneva. To prepare for the session, the Committee sent to Mexico a "list of topics" to be addressed during the exchange, in which the first point that is emphasized is the "2001 constitutional reform and the limits that the constitutional protection of human rights of indigenous peoples have encountered."

"The United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) said, in its 2010 report--quoting a report on Mexico done by Amnesty International--that, despite government measures, indigenous Mexicans suffer greater inequalities than any other group, and that their access to health, education, social security, housing and other services is very limited."

"The failure to implement the existing legal framework, including the new Constitution, deepens the structural problem of discrimination in a context where indigenous rights are officially protected by these rules, but institutions replicate historical patterns of discrimination," a report by the NGO Center for Human Rights of the Mountains of Tlachinollan (Guerrero state) also affirms.

The Committee will ask Mexico to explain the "the consideration it gives to the specific economic, cultural, social and geographic realities of indigenous peoples in federal and state regulatory frameworks and in the design and implementation of public policies, including health, education and housing." Another issue that the Mexican state must address will be "the effective access to justice" of the 10 million indigenous people of the country.

"As Amnesty International has recorded in many cases, indigenous people are often forced to participate in court proceedings without adequate assistance and without knowledge of the procedures. As a result, indigenous persons suspected of crimes are not properly defended against criminal charges, resulting in unjust trials and convictions."

Tlachinollan noted that, at the last review of Mexico, the UN Committee recommended guaranteeing the right of indigenous peoples to use interpreters and legal advisers who are familiar with the language and customs of the indigenous involved. "Despite the government's legislative efforts, the legislation remains a symbolic act and has not been properly implemented... " notes the NGO.

Moreover, the Committee expects that the Mexican government will explain the situation of migrants crossing its territory who suffer racial discrimination and asks that the mechanisms to "protect the rights of all migrants, including the right to life" be specified.

"Tens of thousands of migrants traveling through Mexico are routinely victims of extortion, abuse, kidnapping, rape, murder and forced enlistment in criminal gangs. The gangs often act with the acquiescence or consent of the authorities," Amnesty International charges. "Those responsible for abuses are rarely pursued, thereby creating a climate of impunity and tolerance of abuse against migrants," the organization concludes." Spanish original

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