[JURIST] A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] on Friday repeated its earlier request for the Mexican government to investigate human rights violations [press release] in Tlatlaya in Mexico State. Among the human rights violations alleged are the deaths of 22 people, including the summary execution of 12 individuals. Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani spoke to reporters, restating the UN’s concern with the poorly performed investigation, including the handling of seven military personnel that were arrested and charged in connection with the killings. This briefing follows the decision of Mexican court to drop charges against four of the officers in 2015 and freeing the remaining three only last week. While she acknowledged the judiciary’s independence and decision-making, she stated that this briefing was meant to “call on Mexican authorities to ensure a thorough, effective, impartial, independent and prompt investigation” into these and other human rights violations.
Mexico has received criticism from multiple human rights organizations for its handling of human rights abuses, as forced disappearances and military violence have come to international attention. Last month three UN human rights experts pleaded [JURIST report] with Mexican authorities to support human rights groups facing extreme criticism in the national media. In 2015 Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [press release] that there is evidence of recent unlawful police killings in Mexico. The report suggests that police action which left eight civilians dead in the city of Apatzingán on January 6, and 42 civilians and one police officer dead in Tanhuato on May 22 was an “excessive use of force against unarmed civilians.” That same year, the Miguel Agustin Pro human rights center [official website] in Mexico announced that there is evidence that high-ranking Mexican officers gave soldiers orders to kill criminals prior to an army mass slaying of suspected cartel members in June 2014. In 2013 the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns [official website], urged Mexico’s government [JURIST report] to better protect against human rights abuses, specifically with respect to the military’s use of force against civilians.