Social Issues November 10, 2011
HRW: "Mexico's Drug War Has Led to Widespread Human Rights Abuse"

According to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), Mexico's military and police have committed widespread human rights violations in their efforts to combat organized crime. The report, titled "Neither Rights Nor Security: Killings, Torture, and Disappearances in Mexico's 'War on Drugs'", is based on in-depth research conducted in five of Mexico's most violent states.

According to the report, the Mexican government's so-called "war on drugs" - an aggressive approach to confronting Mexico's powerful drug cartels which was spearheaded by President Felipe Calderon after his election in December, 2006 - has led to widespread torture, "disappearances", and extrajudicial killings.

The report is by no means the first time questions have been raised about who's behind the killing of cartel members: for instance, an LA Times story from October wondered "Just who is behind the killing of [the members of drug cartel] Zetas?" Drug-related violence in the country is so widespread that it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for many deaths - an estimated 40,000 people have been killed in the past five years.

As well as the military and police, the HRW report examines the role of the judicial branch of the Mexican government and judges, some of whom have admitted evidence that was "likely to have been obtained through torture". The final recommendations of the report include making changes to the legal code and the Military Code of Justice to prevent rights abuses from being perpetrated, and ensuring that political leaders stop dismissing allegations of abuse before they have been investigated.



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