The Mexican government acknowledges its human rights challenges while reaffirming its firm commitment to respond to each of them. To this end, the following advances in some of the areas addressed in the chapter on Mexico contained in the Amnesty International Report 2016/17 entitled “The State of the World’s Human Rights”—are set forth.
- On July 6, 2016, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) took over the investigation into the events that occurred in Nochixtlán begun by the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Oaxaca. For its part, the Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) has kept in touch with the victims and their families in order to ensure that they receive the necessary attention and assistance regarding reparations.
- The government reiterates its strong commitment to clarifying the facts and to sanctioning those responsible in the Tanhuato, Tlatlaya and Apatzingán cases. It should be pointed out that there are investigations into all of the cases and individuals have been arrested and charged. The Mexican government is committed to reparations for the victims and to preventing the occurrence of similar events.
SUPPORT FOR THE INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM
- Mexico reiterates its continued support for the Inter-American Human Rights System. During the deep financial crisis that affected both the Commission (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CoIDH) in 2016, Mexico took the lead in proposing a long-term solution that would ensure predictable resources and sustainable financing for their work.
- The proposal is under discussion within the Organization of American States (OAS) and is expected to be approved at the next OAS General Assembly in June 2017. To this end, the support of the members of the Inter-American system and especially of civil society organizations is vitally important.
THE AYOTZINAPA CASE
Collaboration with the IACHR in the case of the missing students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ college in Guerrero has not ceased. The Mexican government acknowledged the work of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), whose mandate ended in April 2016.
- A few months later, in July 2016, it was agreed with the victims’ parents and representatives and with the IACHR itself to create a Follow-Up Mechanism to monitor the precautionary measures issued by the Commission. The mechanism, which has the government’s complete support, is coordinated by the country rapporteur, Commissioner Enrique Gil Botero, and to date has made two visits, according to the corresponding work plan.
- Six more visits will be carried out during the year, in addition to the Commission’s follow-up at its sessions. This will strengthen collaboration between the authorities responsible for the case and the mechanism, and enable information sharing with the Commission on the investigation, the search efforts and the comprehensive attention given to the victims in a spirit of openness and full cooperation.
- We reiterate our absolute repudiation of acts of torture and our commitment to preventing these acts and punishing those responsible. Policies and measures to combat them have been put in place, including not only protocols for action and institutional strengthening, but also a draft General Law on the subject for consideration by the Congress.
- The federal government hopes that Congress will pass the General Law in the near future so that, once it is in force, it helps prevent, combat and punish the crime of torture in a consistent manner throughout the country, in accordance with the highest international standards.
- Disappearances in Mexico are a very important challenge and the government reiterates its commitment to face this challenge decisively. It improves the National Registry of Missing or Disappeared Persons on an ongoing basis and has established search and investigation methods, such as the Standardized Protocol used by all of the attorney general and prosecutors’ offices in the country. In addition, the Office of the Attorney General created a Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for the Search for Missing Persons in late 2015.
- As with the fight against torture, the federal government is confident that Congress will soon approve a General Law on this topic that will help prevent disappearances, improve our search capacity and standardize the types of crimes. It will also enable the judicial branch—as the only body empowered to hold individuals responsible for their actions—to strengthen its actions in this area.
- The Mexican government reaffirms its commitment to addressing the complex public safety situation caused by the presence of organized crime. In this context, the Armed Forces contribute to this task in a complementary and temporary manner, at the express request—and with proven need—of civil authorities in order to safeguard the rule of law and democratic institutions.
- In addition, the armed forces are continuously working to improve their training in human rights and the use of force, in accordance with international standards. It should be noted that the number of complaints submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) for alleged human rights violations attributed to Mexican Army and Air Force personnel has decreased substantially: there was a 68% reduction in 2016 compared to 2012. In addition, alleged human rights violations imputed to military personnel against civilians are investigated, and if found true, are sanctioned in civil courts.
REFUGEE AND MIGRANT RIGHTS
- The Mexican government is committed to fully respecting the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their immigration status. In this regard, it has made significant efforts to increase its ability to provide protection to migrants traveling through our country and to those seeking refugee status and international protection.
- The existing institutions and mechanisms will continue to be strengthened, as will our partnerships with international organizations and civil society, in order to provide the best possible protection to the migrants and individuals seeking refuge who require it.
- In this regard, the federal government rejects any unilateral act by any country that threatens the dignity of migrants and fosters racism, xenophobia or discrimination. To this end, Mexico will continue to ensure that its citizens abroad have the best protection possible and it will strengthen protection for migrants and refugees in our country.
JOURNALISTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
- The government reiterates its appreciation for the work done by human rights defenders and journalists and categorically rejects any act that seeks to affect their rights or their integrity. Protection mechanisms have been put in place and improved, and steps have been taken to strengthen institutions and harmonize laws to ensure that these individuals are fully able to do their work in our country.
- It should also be pointed out that the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, made an official visit to the country from January 16-24 at the invitation of the Mexican government. This, and the commitment of all the authorities to follow up on his recommendations in order to improve protection for the human rights defenders and journalists in Mexico, demonstrates the importance that our country attaches to cooperating with the international human rights mechanisms.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
- Mexico has a normative and programmatic framework to address violence against women and girls, including the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence.
- We agree with what is said by Amnesty International in its report, in that the lack of accurate, up-to-date and disaggregated data on gender-based violence is a major obstacle to tackling the problem. In this regard, Mexico is a regional leader in producing disaggregated indicators, given that it has a comprehensive system of gender indicators that addresses basic demographic components and disaggregated information on general issues.
RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
- The Mexican government and its institutions are firmly committed to respecting the rights of the indigenous population and overcoming their social impediments. Therefore, it designs and promotes public policy for the indigenous population that validate their rights and gives priority to the right to prior, free and informed consultation with the indigenous communities and peoples.
The federal government takes due note of the recommendations made by AI in its report, and recognizes the valuable role of civil society organizations in this area. In addition, the Mexican government once again reaffirms its commitment to human rights and reiterates that it will continue to work on addressing the outstanding issues.