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Cablegate: Un Human Rights Office Confirms Its Representative

VZCZCXRO3430
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #1452 1342214
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 132214Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1848
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1849
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1027
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0229
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MEXICO 001452

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UN MX
SUBJECT: UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE CONFIRMS ITS REPRESENTATIVE
IS LEAVING MEXICO

1. After weeks of rumors circulating about his imminent
departure, Amerigo Incalcaterra, the Representative of the
Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights officially
announced plans to leave Mexico. Liliana Valina, Deputy
Representative at the UN High Commission told poloff May 9
that the UN Headquarters in Geneva had asked Incalcaterra to
depart but she provided no information about an onward
assignment or his replacement. She initially signaled some
reluctance to discuss Incalcaterra's departure speaking in
generalities about the "challenges" facing the Commission in
carrying out its human rights mandate in Mexico. Without
going into details, Valina suggested "restrictions" on his
work and GOM "pressure" had contributed significantly to the
UN decision to have Incalcaterra depart Mexico. He is
expected to leave May 23; Valina will fill in until the
office in Geneva appoints the next Representative.

2. Members of the NGO community assume that Incalcaterra is
leaving as a result of a falling out with the GOM. Juan
Artola from the International Organization for Migration
(IOM), alleged to Poloff, that at the outset of his tenure
Incalcaterra was urged not to speak publicly on sensitive
issues such as gender-related killings in Ciudad Juarez,
violence against journalists or military counter-crime
operations, and that he had chafed under the restrictions.
Poloff could not verify this assertion. Incalcaterra, indeed
had maintained a relatively low profile here, concentrating
on developing programs in women's issues and indigenous
rights. Valina cited frustrations the High Commission's
office has experienced working with the GOM bureaucracy to
get such programs up and running, however. She indicated
that the office's relationship with the government
deteriorated after the high profile visit here by UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour in February.
Arbour issued a public statement conveying concern about the
military's involvement in the fight against organized crime
and called for civilian courts to assume jurisdiction over
acts committed by the military in the course of its law
enforcement work. No doubt, Incalcaterra informed her
statement.

3. Fermin Romero Vasquez, the Director of the Office of the
General Assembly and International Organizations at Mexico's
Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) said his office had not
received official information on Incalcaterra's departure
from the UN High Commission and could not provide a comment
based on unofficial information.

4. Comment: We have no reason to question that Incalcaterra
faced a certain amount of pressure in Mexico. At the same
time, it does not appear the GOM has formally forced
Incalcaterra to leave. A combination of frustration and
personal reasons (Poloff had been told by Commission staff on
several occasions that Incalcaterra had been out of the
country to attend to unspecified health concerns.) may have
contributed to his decision to leave. Moreover, he had
already been assigned to Mexico for three years. On the
positive side, there is no evidence Mexico seeks to close the
office or objects to the UNCHR identifying a replacement for
Incalcaterra.
Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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