Human Rights Policy and Nonprofit Organizational Development

Policy Blog: Human rights orgs criticize the Merida Initiative

In Policy Blog on June 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I have written before about the Merida Initiative to fund the “war on drugs” in Mexico.  A few weeks ago, a group of several dozen civil society organizations and well-known individuals wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress voicing concerns about the initiative.

The memo raises several issues and points to human rights abuses by forces trained and deployed under the Initiative. 

The deployment of the Mexican army to carry out public security tasks that legally correspond to the civilian police has brought with it a significant increase in human rights violations in the last two years, including extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary detentions and rape.

Signatories include several organizations that I’ve worked with in the past and deeply respect, including Catholics for the Right to Decide (Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, which also figured in this post) and the Fray Fransisco de Vitoria Human Rights Center (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fr. Fransisco de Vitoria).  Centro Fray Vitoria definitely knows what it’s talking about- one of their major issues is the militarization of civil policing for indigenous areas in southern states and the resulting rights violations, including political imprisonment and mass rape of indigenous women by military personnel. 

It has always been so clear to me that the “war on drugs” in the South of Mexico is a thinly veiled mechanism for repressing the poor, (justifiably) angry, and largely indigenous residents of southern states.  I’ll post some time in the near future on poverty indicators for the southern states and specifically on the situation for indigenous women.

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