1/28/12 – Mexico’s Interior Ministry (Secretario de Gobernación, Segob) sent out a formal complaint to Human Rights Watch (HRW) stating that the accusations it makes about Mexico in its recent reports are untrue and “do not reflect the real status in Mexico.” On January 21, HRW released its annual “World Report,” which examines the status of human rights around the world. (Read the Mexico chapter by clicking here). Over two months before, on November 9, 2011, HRW also published a 212-page report titled “Neither Rights Nor Security: Killings, Torture, and Disappearances in Mexico’s ‘War on Drugs,'” which can be found here. Between the two publications, HRW alleges that certain branches of the Mexican military have committed serious human rights violations against Mexican citizens during President Calderón’s “war on drugs.” They also provide statistics as to the number of complaints made by Mexican citizens and what kind of response the government has made in return. The reports further comment on the fact that these violators continue to receive impunity from their alleged actions, which undermines both justice and the rule of law throughout the country.
Two days after the publication of the “World Report,” the Mexican Federal Government reported that the Interior Ministry had sent a response to HRW regarding the accusations made in the November report highlighting the discrepancies in the publication. It was also pointed out that HRW neglected to include the Mexican government’s response to the November report when it discussed the current state of Mexican human rights in the “World Report.” In its defense, Segob reiterated that the Army (Secretaría de Defensa Nacional, Sedena) and Navy (Secretaría de Marína, Semar) both “put the security and the integrity of the people” above all else when fighting against narco trafficking groups. Additionally, as Grupo Fórmula reported, the Mexican government stressed the following points in its recent response to HRW: that the number of complaints registered with the National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) does not reflect the actual number of human rights violations committed; that of the 6,065 complaints received against Sedena, only 98 (1.61%) of them were turned into recommendations, which have been adopted and consistently followed by Sedena; and that 17 out of the 800 (2.12%) complaints against Semar were adopted as recommendations. Thus, the government has tried to show the difference in the number of complaints of violations being filed versus the actual number of cases of human rights violations that have been proven.
At a recent press conference, the director of the Human Rights Watch’s Americas division, José Miguel Vivanco, challenged Segob’s response by asking them to prove their claim that the majority of the 47,000 deaths that have occurred as a result of narco trafficking violence in Mexico are a direct result of crime and violence between the cartels themselves. Miguel Vivanco questioned how 90% of these crimes fall into this category when investigations are not properly conducted into these deaths. He added that he hopes the “next administration revises its security strategy” and is willing to “examine conducts and accept criticisms and suggestions” from international organizations.