[JURIST]The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns [official website] urged Mexico’s Government on Friday to increase protections for human rights [press release], particularly reducing the need to use force and reducing the military’s involvement in policing. Heyns stated that establishing a strong law enforcement system consistent with international law is the solution to violence problems currently plaguing Mexico. He stressed that civil courts, rather than military ones, should try members of the accused committing human rights violations and suggested establishing clear standards on when law enforcement officials may use force. Additionally, Heyns emphasized the need to end impunity:
Each and every loss of life should be investigated with the same rigor. And each and every perpetrator should be apprehended and tried. Pursuing this objective will serve not only to decrease impunity, but to restore the value that society attaches to life.
Heyns said that the international community is eager to work with Mexico in further protecting human rights.
In March Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish] voted [JURIST report] to remove criminal immunity for federal lawmakers, seeking to subject federal senators and deputies to the criminal justice system. In February Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] stated [JURIST report] that Mexican security forces have enforced or participated in at least 250 “disappearances” in which individuals are taken against their will since 2007. In July 2012 the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego (TBI) [official website] released a report [JURIST report] saying that human rights violations committed by Mexico’s military forces were on the rise, and alleged that these violations were occurring with impunity.