UN to Mexico: End Disappearances and Torture

43 Students Eduardo Verdugo AP Photo
Eduardo Verdugo AP Photo

The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner recently wrapped up a visit to Mexico, describing his visit as “sobering.” Despite noting several legislative developments and reforms in the country, the Mexican people have painted a tragic picture filled with widespread corruption and insecurity.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein met with President Peña Nieto and senior Government officials during his visit, according to a UN press release. He said during a press conference, “Many of the people I have spoken to have painted a very bleak – and consistent – picture of a society that is wracked by high levels of insecurity, disappearances and killings.” Al Hussein also noted the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders and journalists, violence against women, and terrible abuses of migrants and refugees transiting Mexico on their way to the United States.

During the press conference, Al Hussein relayed several statistics that demonstrate Mexico has a very long way to go in order to make significant improvements:

“For a country that is not engaged in a conflict, the estimated figures are simply staggering: 151,233 people killed between December 2006 and August 2015, including thousands of transiting migrants… At least 26,000 people missing, many believed to be as a result of enforced disappearances, since 2007.”

The High Commissioner also noted:

While some of the violence “can be laid at the door of the country’s powerful and ruthless organized crime groups,” many enforced disappearances, acts of torture and extra-judicial killings are alleged to have been carried out by Federal, State and municipal authorities, including the police and some segments of the army, either acting in their own interests or in collusion with organized criminal groups.

Al Hussein offered many suggestions for the Mexican government, indicating it should urgently strengthen the Attorney General’s offices across the country to ensure that human rights violations are properly investigated. He said the government should also adopt a time frame for the withdrawal of the military from public security functions, and implement recommendations from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts and consider similar follow-up mechanisms for other serious cases.

Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.