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News > Mexico

UN Agrees to Train Mexican National Guard on Human Rights

  • Then Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, current U.N. human rights chief, meets with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

    Then Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, current U.N. human rights chief, meets with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. | Photo: EFE

Published 1 March 2019

U.N. High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and Mexican Foreign Ministry will meet Apr. 8 and 9 to discuss human rights training for the new national guard.

The Mexican government will sign an agreement with the United Nations to train the newly instated National Guard in matters of human rights this April.

AMLO's National Guard Bill Moves Through Mexican Senate

Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, reviewed the agreement Tuesday to ensure that the National Guard includes "the highest standards in human rights."

Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, explained that the agreement will be finalized when Bachelet, visits in early April whose office will work on "the definition of contents, of the systems of selection and training in the use of force" of the National Guard.

The proposal highlights the protection and specific attention to women and vulnerable groups, especially children and adolescents, and Indigenous people and the regulation of the use of force, Ebrard said.

Possible protocol to prevent abuses by security forces and evaluative measures to monitor their performance in human rights issues were also raised.The foreign ministry announced that it hopes these aspects can be defined more precisely during Bachelet’s visit to Mexico early April.

Mexican officials told the U.N. senior official "one of the pillars of the multilateral policy of the current administration is the promotion of an equitable, prosperous and respectful society of human rights."

One day after his inauguration, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), proposed creating a national guard with 60,000 army, navy and other federal police to battle Mexico’s soaring crime rates. The Mexican Senate approved a modified proposal last week.

“The people of Mexico need their armed forces to address this grave problem of insecurity and violence right now,” AMLO said in a speech December, often turning toward the uniformed officers assembled behind him to address them directly. “We’ve opted for this plan because we trust the armed forces.”

Last week Thursday, Mexico's Senate approved Lopez Obrador's plan to create a new national guard, and the legislation will now return to the lower house of the Mexican Congress, where final approval should be a formality. It must then be ratified by a majority of state legislatures, most of which are controlled by MORENA and its allies.

"After an exercise of #OpenParliament, today the Senate in a historic agreement unanimously approved the creation of the #NationalGuard. What is this institution?" | Source: Mexican Senate / Twitter

Since a military-focused approach was initiated in 2006, the war on drugs in Mexico has killed over 200,000 while tens of thousands more have disappeared. A record number of murders have taken place in recent years, including in some of the country’s most fabled tourist destinations like Acapulco and Los Cabos

AMLO’s new security focus stirred unease among some human rights activists, who argued the plan ignores past abuses stemming from the “militarization” of public safety.

“We call on the new government to back a civil security model that can create conditions for a gradual withdrawal of the armed forces in public security work,” a coalition of leading human rights groups said in a statement before the Mexican president took office.

In addition to the national guard plan, Lopez Obrador has offered a six-year security blueprint that criticizes drug prohibition as both ineffective and arbitrary.

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