Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre signs open letter on enforced disappearances and militarization of public security

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by Tlachinollan.

Numerous organizations – including the PBI-Mexico accompanied Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, the CSO Space for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, and the Saltillo Migrant Shelter (Espacio OSC) – have signed an open letter to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The letter states:

From 15 to 26 November 2021, Mexico had the honour of receiving the visit of the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

In its report, the Committee has argued that the public security approach adopted by the Mexican State three decades ago has been focused on militarization to combat crime, which has been insufficient and inadequate.

Human rights organizations have documented the involvement of the military, including the militarized National Guard, in cases of torture, repression, enforced disappearance, extrajudicial executions, sexual violence among other human rights violations.

[The Committee] again recommended that the federal government devise an “orderly, immediate and verifiable” withdrawal plan for military forces that are carrying out public security actions, urging them to abandon the militarized approach.

Amnesty International and the organizations, activists, independent experts and academics that make up the collective #SeguridadsinGuerra are convinced that public security policies should be carried out by civilian and not military institutions.

The full letter can be read here.

Earlier this week, the National Guard killed 19-year-old student Angel Rangel in Guanajuato, which is about 360 kilometres north-west of Mexico City.

In response, Security Without War stated: “The militarization of the country’s public life has only brought an increase in atrocities under the indolence of those who promised to remove the Armed Forces from the streets and have only increased their power.”

El Pais further notes: “In its 2021 work report, presented in February, the National Guard reported that during that year it recorded ‘125 events where lethal force was used with firearms’, more than it had accumulated in previous years.”

In June 2018, PBI-UK commented in The Guardian:

“Last December Mexico enacted the interior security law, normalising the intervention of armed forces in public security activities and linked to a growing trend in Mexico towards the use of excessive force in situations of social protest. Peace Brigades International (PBI) has provided protection to at-risk human rights defenders in the country since 2000, an experience that has shown us that in the federal states where a security strategy based on militarisation has been implemented, attacks against activists have increased significantly.”

And in October 2021, The Guardian reported: “The national guard has built 165 barracks in Mexico since it was created only two years ago by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador… [The Indigenous Tzeltal ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas] is leading the first lawsuit against one of 500 or so barracks planned across the country.”

The article highlights that the community was not consulted about the base, nor did it give its free, prior and informed consent to it.

Further reading: National Guard barracks, militarization of territory a concern for Indigenous peoples, environmental defenders in Mexico (PBI-Canada article, October 2021).

Webinar, May 31

On Tuesday May 31, PBI-Canada will be hosting a webinar to discuss the issue of militarization of territory and Canadian arms exports.

Speakers will include Quetzalli Villanueva Vergara, a lawyer with Tlachinollan, World Beyond War organizer Rachel Small, and Dene land defender Little Wolf. It will be moderated by PBI-Canada Board member Seb Bonet.

A speaker from Colombia will be confirmed soon.

To register for the webinar, click here.

Categories: News Updates

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