11/11/11 – Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international organization, recently published yet another document criticizing President Felipe Calderón’s efforts to reduce the drug trade in Mexico, calling it a failed strategy in its report released on Wednesday. According to the official report, titled “Neither Rights nor Security: Killing, Torture, and Disappearances in Mexico’s War on Drugs,” human rights violations allegedly committed by members of the military continue to be on the rise in Mexico over the past five years since President Felipe Calderón took office and immediately increased the military’s presence in the fight against narco-trafficking. In addition to the more than 40,000 deaths since 2006, the battle with drug cartels has allegedly led to 170 cases of torture, 39 disappearances, and 24 extrajudicial killings all claimed to be caused by members of the military and security forces, finds HRW. Five particular states that have seen particularly high levels of drug-related violence– Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nuevo León, and Tabasco– became the focus of the report as HRW interviewed, surveyed, and researched the growing number of claims of human rights violations in those areas.
Pulled directly from the report, HRW found “a public security policy that is badly failing on two fronts. It has not succeeded in reducing violence. Instead, it has resulted in a dramatic increase in grave human rights violations, virtually none of which appear to be adequately investigated. In sum, rather than strengthening public security in Mexico, Calderón’s “war” has exacerbated a climate of violence, lawlessness, and fear in many parts of the country.”
In response to the accusations, René Zenteno of the Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación, SEGOB) rejected the term “war” that is so often used in the common saying “War on Drugs” and claimed that any infringement of fundamental rights are and will be fully punished. Zenteno specified that the government’s policy guarantees the justice in any violation. Calderón went on to say in a public release from Los Pinos that the criminals are those who are the principle threat to violations of human rights in Mexico and not the authorities in place to safeguard those rights.