The Department of State has denounced the prevailing impunity and corruption in Mexico. The report on respect for Human Rights in 2022, presented on Monday, states that the government of Manuel Andrés López Obrador has their work cut out for them with regards to these two aspects, in addition to the ongoing fight against organized criminal groups. Mexican law enforcement and security forces have also been added to the list of censures following accusations of committing abuses, torture and other "inhumane treatment."
The report echoes allegations of human rights violations including arbitrary and politically motivated killings, forced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment. It also includes "inhumane conditions," with a risk of being fatal in prisons, exposes arbitrary detentions and the lack of guarantees in judicial proceedings within the country. Censorship of freedom of expression and persecution of journalists (by August 2022, 15 reporters had already been reported murdered) also receives separate mention.
"Arbitrary homicides committed by police and military."
The performance of the security forces is also strongly criticized in the report, not only for corruption, but also the way they act, which in many cases violates human rights. The document explicitly speaks of "abuses" and "torture" by police and military agents. In this regard, the document highlights that, following a constitutional amendment approved last year, the president may use the armed forces for internal security until 2028.
Although authorities generally maintained effective control over the security forces, there were instances in which security force elements acted independently of civilian control. There were reports that members of security forces committed some abuses. Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: unlawful or arbitrary killings by police, military, and other governmental officials; forced disappearance by government agents; torture or cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; restrictions on free expression and media, including violence against journalists; serious acts of government corruption; insufficient investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence, including domestic or intimate partner violence; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex persons; and crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting persons with disabilities.
Collaboration with criminals from the Government of Mexico
One of the most worrying aspects is that, on occasions, the Mexican government itself has been known to collaborate with international criminal gangs. In addition, impunity and low rates of criminals being brought to justice increases insecurity and human rights violations.
Impunity and extremely low rates of prosecution remained a problem for all crimes, including human rights abuses and corruption. There were reports some government agents were complicit with international criminal gangs, and prosecution and conviction rates were low for these abuses.
In addition, the report denounces the high number of crimes committed in the country by cartels and organized criminal gangs, both local and transnational. The State Department emphasizes that, of these crimes, "the majority remained uninvestigated and unprosecuted."
Criminal elements, including local and transnational gangs and narcotics traffickers, were significant perpetrators of violent crimes and committed acts of homicide, torture, kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, bribery, intimidation, and other threats, resulting in high levels of violence and exploitation. The government investigated and prosecuted some of these crimes, but the majority remained uninvestigated and unprosecuted.
Today we released the 47th annual Human Rights Report. #2022HRR demonstrates our commitment to advancing human rights across the globe. I invite you to take a moment and read the full report: https://t.co/yfDofbHrxK
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 20, 2023
The report, which covers the human rights situation in multiple countries, has been made public at a time of tension between the Mexican and U.S. governments, especially after the recent kidnapping and murder of U.S. citizens who crossed the border for cosmetic treatment.