WASHINGTON – A Mexican government delegation on Monday defended “the necessity and the efficacy” of the war on drug trafficking during a hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the Organization of American States.
The under-secretary for Juridical Affairs and Human Rights within Mexico’s interior ministry, Felipe de Jesus Zamora, said that the national strategy against organized crime had been applied “with strict respect for human rights.”
Representatives of 18 NGOs who also appeared before the OAS panel on Monday offered a much different appraisal.
The war on drug cartels launched by newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon in December 2006 has been counterproductive, given that “violence, the murder rate and citizen insecurity have skyrocketed,” said Carlos Karin Zazueta, with the Citizens in Support of Human Rights organization.
The complaints, along with the well-documented reports of arbitrary arrests, torture and harassment committed by the security forces, were rejected by Zamora, who said that the fight for security is, in itself, “a fight for human rights.”
The Mexican delegation focused its efforts on claiming that the war on drug trafficking was “necessary” to halt the advance of organized crime, and it defended that battle’s effectiveness without discussing specific figures.
Zamora acknowledged that the results of this strategy will not be seen in the short term and when repression is intensified then violence increases “at first,” but he went on to say that “later it falls, and it will fall.”
It is calculated that about 35,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since Calderon took office. EFE