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News > Latin America

Mexico's National Security Law Under International Criticism

  • A soldier stands guard on a street in the neighbourhood of Nezahualcoyotl in Mexico City.

    A soldier stands guard on a street in the neighbourhood of Nezahualcoyotl in Mexico City. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 December 2017

Numerous international organizations say the bill threatens human rights and warn of the potential for abuse by law enforcement.

Mexico’s Internal Security Law is under severe criticism from the international community which says the new legislation threatens human rights and puts the safety of citizens at risk.

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Representatives from the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the National Commission for Human Rights denounced the law which will incorporate military forces into citizen security organizations.

The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill last week, allowing the state to create a rapid response team composed of state and federal law enforcement reserved for extreme cases when municipal or state forces are not equipped to handle the situation.

According to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the project is of the utmost importance and imperative to addressing any threat federal or local police are unable to control.

CNDH representatives expressed their concern, saying the law poses a potential risk to human rights and once incorporated into the system, the project could be easily abused and utilized to control any activity or civil disturbance.

“In the region, and specifically in Mexico, experience shows that the intervention of the armed forces in internal security tasks, in general, is accompanied by violence and serious violations of human rights,” IACHR said in a statement.

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As part of the Organization of American States, the IACHR cited numerous occasions, specifically in 2015, where similar militarized presence resulted in “extrajudicial executions, torture, and forced disappearance, as well as higher levels of impunity in Mexico.

The commission took its argument to Twitter, reminding Mexican officials of the need for a clear and unequivocal separation of municipal and national police forces to ensure security. The various methods of training, preparation and procedure are so extremely different, it will only add to the confusion, the organization added.

"Among other considerations, it would create risks for the validity of human rights, it would not provide real solutions to face the enormous security challenges facing the country, strengthen status quo, reduce the incentives to professionalize civil institutions and favor the consolidation of the military paradigm in security matters, which has not reduced violence and has increased human rights violations,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Jan Jarab.

At the national level, the Ibero-American University and the Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center have petitioned senators to overturn the bill.

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