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Joint Letter: Secretary Pompeo Must Prioritize Human Rights During Mexico Visit

7/12/2018Letter

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July 11, 2018

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo

The U.S. State Department

2201 C Street NW

Washington D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary of State Pompeo,

On the occasion of your visit to Mexico City to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, we write to you as representatives of organizations that closely follow the human rights situation in Mexico to express concern about the ongoing human rights crisis in the country and to urge you to ensure that the defense of human rights is a fundamental part of the United States’ bilateral relationship with Mexico. Your visit comes at a crucial moment. The transition period between the current and new government in Mexico is an opportunity to express with all parties U.S. support to address existing challenges in strengthening the rule of law and combating corruption, as well as to encourage progress in advancing investigations and prosecutions into human rights violations.

As the most recent State Department human rights report on Mexico states, impunity for human rights violations remains a problem with extremely low prosecution rates for all crimes. Between 2012 and 2016, fewer than four percent of Mexican investigations of human rights violations and crimes committed by soldiers resulted in convictions in civilian courts. In the case of the extrajudicial killing of 22 civilians by Mexican soldiers in Tlatlaya, the State of Mexico in 2014, all those charged in civilian jurisdiction and the one soldier convicted for disobedience in military jurisdiction have been released, leaving the case in a state of impunity. We urge you to underscore the need to hold Mexican security forces who commit human rights violations accountable for their actions. Initiatives that increase the role of the armed forces in public security, as is the case with the Internal Security Law, and fail to address weak accountability and oversight me