MEXICO CITY – With the first anniversary of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s inauguration approaching, Amnesty International marked the occasion with a new report, titled “When Words Are Not Enough,” that notes that the serious human rights crisis in Mexico has not ended.
“President Lopez Obrador’s government has shown it is willing to take some measures on some issues, especially on disappearances in the country. However, after one year in government, there has been no substantial change in the lives of the millions of people facing an extremely serious human rights crisis that has now lasted for more than a decade,” Amnesty International Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas said.
The report, which was released on Wednesday in Mexico City, said that the Lopez Obrador administration inherited the severe human rights crisis.
“The extremely high levels of violence that threaten the right to life, the widespread use of torture, the alarming levels of violence against women and a militarized public security strategy that is as present as ever are all signs of the tragic situation in Mexico,” Guevara-Rosas said.
The latest report from the Mexican National Public Safety System Executive Secretariat said that 2,866 murders were registered in October, 38 more than in the previous month.
The report said a total of 28,741 murders were registered in the first 10 months of 2019.
AI said that “other issues that the government must urgently address include the rights of indigenous peoples and the protection of their territories, violence against LGBTI people, sexual and reproductive rights, and social and economic rights.”
The human rights group said that the administration of Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, 2018, “has not moved far from the highly militarized security strategy of his predecessors,” Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, and Enrique Peña Nieto, who governed Mexico from 2012 to 2018.
AI said the Lopez Obrador administration “has refused to recognize that torture is commonplace and has hardened the country’s stance on migration.”
The international human rights group said the administration “has also unduly restricted and put at risk the freedom of peaceful assembly and has consistently stigmatized journalists and civil society organizations that have criticized its policies, maintaining the hostile environment against journalists and human rights defenders and their organizations.”
AI noted, however, that the government said in August that Mexico would recognize the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances’ authority “to examine reports on individual cases, addressing one of the repeated demands made by families of disappeared persons and human rights organizations. However, the government has not yet implemented this measure.”
The AI report said Mexico continued to experience generalized violence against women and girls.
“Gender-based violence against women and girls remains widespread in Mexico. Government policies and the introduction of legislation have not been enough to deal with the growing number of killings, disappearances and other grave human rights violations of the rights of women and girls throughout the country,” AI said.
Tania Reneaum, executive director of AI-Mexico, told EFE that a presidential team acknowledged the difficulties faced by women during a meeting on Monday.
“They have concrete action plans for eradicating gender-based violence and we’ll see if these actions help reduce the femicide rate in the medium term,” Reneaum said.
Between January and September, there were 748 victims of femicide in Mexico, with the average number of monthly cases trending higher, Reneaum said.
The AI-Mexico executive director said Lopez Obrador had a tremendous opportunity to implement a new human rights policy, thanks to his high approval rating.
“In the first 12 or 18 months, he has to lay the foundation to formulate policies on human rights,” Reneaum said.
The AI-Mexico executive director, however, expressed concern that the delays in the Senate in approving the nomination of Rosario Piedra as head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) “could weaken that institution.”
Amnesty International said that to achieve substantial change in the human rights area, the Lopez Obrador administration, which will be in office until 2024, would have “to stop blaming previous governments for the situation, accept responsibility for what is happening right now, seek solutions to the serious problems in this field and make human rights and Mexico’s international obligations an essential component of all its policies.”