Mexican Military and Human Rights
In the last decade, Mexico has given military personnel an increasing role in counter-drug and law enforcement efforts. U.S. military assistance has helped make this possible, by providing the Mexican military with training and equipment. When this trend began, authorities claimed it was a temporary solution to the problems of police and prosecutorial corruption and ineptitude. More than a decade later, however, the military is entrenched in this role and shows no signs of withdrawing. Since assuming office, President Calderón appears to be increasing the use of the military in counter-drug efforts and public security bodies. As a result, although Mexico is undergoing a transition to democracy, the defining line between military and police responsibilities are being blurred.
The Mexican military has committed serious human rights violations in the context of counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts. Impunity for these abuses is the norm. Contrary to Mexico’s Constitution and international human rights standards, the Mexican military has jurisdiction over investigating soldiers accused of violating the human rights of civilians. The military justice system is closed and secretive, and rarely investigates or punishes soldiers for abuse. WOLA is monitoring the continued use of the Mexican military in public security bodies in the country and the presence of members of the military in civilian institutions. WOLA is also concerned about potential human rights violations by soldiers in counter-drug operations, particularly against indigenous populations in the southern states.