Search

 

Cablegate: Embassy Engages Civil Society On Human Rights

VZCZCXRO3892
RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #2780/01 2672234
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 242234Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8352
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 002780

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: EMBASSY ENGAGES CIVIL SOCIETY ON HUMAN RIGHTS
PRESAGING FUTURE PARTNERSHIP

1. (SBU) Summary. In a meeting with representatives from
Mexico's leading human rights non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), the Ambassador proposed a regular dialogue focused on
an agenda that would address recurrent issues, seek to build
confidence, and promote transparency on an agreed list of
human rights priorities. Discussion centered on seven
priority areas that will help guide efforts to support civil
society, address pressing human rights issues, and encourage
needed changes in Mexico's military and police institutions.
A full list of participants and a brief description of their
organization is in paragraph 10. End summary.
Priority Areas
2. Discussion centered around the following seven priorities:
-- Improving mechanisms for identifying, investigating, and
ensuring appropriate legal prosecution of operational abuses
committed by the police and military;
-- Improving transparency in the government and military's
treatment of human rights;
-- Building trust and strengthening the dialogue between GOM
and NGOs;
-- Strengthening respect and support for the NGO human rights
community in order to ensure zero tolerance for hostility,
harassment, or threats against these groups for raising
allegations of human rights abuses;
-- Establishing a joint mechanism with the government to
track implementation of its commitments on improving its
human rights record;
-- Clarifying that there are agreed and verifiable benchmarks
for measuring future progress on human rights issues;
-- Supporting the modernization of investigative and judicial
mechanisms in both civilian and military judicial systems,
including effective civilian oversight in those cases in
which the police or military is believed to have been
involved in crimes against civilians.
Investigating and Punishing Abuses
3. (SBU) NGO representatives stressed the need to view the
human rights situation in the context of the GOM's heavy
reliance on the military to combat organized crime. They
pointed to the rise in the number of abuses over recent
years; whereas in 2006 the National Human Rights Commission
(CNDH) had registered 182 complaints against SEDENA, already
in 2009 it had registered 934 complaints. The groups
conceded that some drug cartels may be responsible for
registering false cases in a bid to damage the military's
reputation, but they noted CNDH recommendations for SEDENA
pertaining to the most serious cases had also increased from
none in 2006 to 19 so far this year. Several representatives
recounted how the war on criminal groups had folded into a
dirty war against indigenous communities that dated back
several decades and reviewed the details of several specific
cases in Chiapas and Guerrero.
4. (SBU) The groups also expressed dissatisfaction over the
military retaining the lead for investigating and prosecuting
alleged military abuses committed against civilians,
maintaining victims could not trust the military to try its
own without bias. They described the military as
non-transparent and unresponsive to requests for more
information about specific cases. While most would like the
Supreme Court to rule that civilian courts should assume
jurisdiction over cases affecting civilians, they recognized
the current political exigencies made that unlikely in the
near future. The Ambassador observed Mexican authorities
consistent with the country's international obligations would
have to resolve the debate over jurisdiction but stressed our
shared commitment to the investigation and prosecution of
human rights committed by the police and the military.
Improving Transparency
5. (SBU) NGO leaders complained about the way in which
government, military, and police institutions respond to
charges of specific human rights abuses. When claims of
wrongdoing are acknowledged, usually by accepting
recommendations from the National Commission for Human
Rights, the government does not explain how it will
investigate the details or punish the perpetrators. In fact,
the NGOs related, it is exceedingly difficult for civil
society to get information from government agencies,
inhibiting their ability to track cases and monitor issues.
Additionally, they expressed concern that while the
government has identified a large number of law enforcement
officials who have not passed GOM vetting processes, there is
no information on what steps have been taken to either remove

MEXICO 00002780 002 OF 003


them or provide the proper training.
Building Trust Between the NGOs and the GOM
6. (SBU) The NGOs spoke to frustration that they have in
working with the federal government. Frequently, they find
that they have better working relationships at the state and
local levels. At the federal level, however, they find the
federal government and military resistant to open exchanges
with civil society. One representative pointed to President
Calderon's call upon the military's human rights detractors
to prove "just one case" of abuse by a soldier as an example
of an example of the government's uncooperative approach on
human rights.
Ending Hostility Towards the NGO community
7. (SBU) Several of the groups expressed serious concern
about threats to human rights defenders, particularly in
Mexico's interior. Representatives from Tlachinollan
Mountain Human Rights Center in the state of Guerrero
recounted threats and violence against their staff and
members. All of the NGOs present were adamant that the GOM
needs to do more to protect activists by providing police
escorts and setting an example of respectful, peaceful
engagement. One representative encouraged the USG to
consider extending emergency visas to human rights activists
facing dire threats and urged the Ambassador to pressure the
GOM to do more to ensure the safety of human rights defenders
and punish their abusers. They wanted the Mexican government
to set the tone in terms of greater respect for human rights
defenders.
Tracking Commitments
8. (SBU) NGO representatives stressed the need to ensure that
the GOM fulfills its commitments on human rights. They
pointed out that civil society has a limited ability to
follow up on commitments the GOM has made domestically to the
CNDH and internationally to the United Nations and the
Inter-American Court. They asked the Ambassador to support
them in their efforts to ensure the GOM is meeting its
commitments and making progress on human rights. The
Ambassador spoke to the value of creating a mechanism to
track commitments.
9. (SBU) Comment: The Embassy will build on these early
meetings (see septel on human rights discussion on the
margins of U.S.-Mexican bilateral and trilateral human rights
consultations lead by DRL Senior Advisor Mike Kozak) by
jointly preparing an agenda with these and other
organizations which can shape a constructive dialogue with
the human rights community in Mexico. The aim will be to
identify constructive ways to strengthen cooperative efforts
with the GOM, enhance transparency, follow up on alleged
abuses, and build trust between the government and its
critics.
10. Participants.
Representatives of the following NGOs participated in the
meeting:

--The National Network for Human Rights Organizations is an
alliance dedicated to helping human rights organizations in
Mexico become more effective in their work.

--The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights is
a Catholic organization that works for the defense and
promotion of human rights, especially for the indigenous
villages particularly with special attention to executions,
torture, arbitrary detentions, disappearances and forced
disappearances.

--The Fray Francisco de Vitoria Center for Human Rights
focuses on cases in front of the International Penal Court,
executions, freedom of expression, migration, death penalty,
political prisoners, racism and torture, as well as
publishing information on the human rights information in
Mexico.

--An internationally recognized NGO dedicated to promoting
respect for human rights in Mexico, the Miguel Agustin Pro
Juarez Center for Human Rights focuses on monitoring and
analyzing the human rights situation in Mexico, assessing and
documenting cases of violations, litigating cases
domestically and internationally, educating and training
other civil society organizations, and publishing information
related to human rights in Mexico.


MEXICO 00002780 003 OF 003


--An NGO based in Tlapa de Comonfort, in the State of
Guerrero, for more than 13 years, the Tlachinollan Mountain
Center for Human Rights has supported indigenous people, has
promoted and defended the rights of indigenous communities in
Guerrero.

--The Center for Research and Analysis Fundar works at the
national and international level to address a broad range of
contemporary issues through budget and policy analysis. It
focuses on budgets, poverty reduction programs, health sector
policies, legislative monitoring, the right of access to
information, monitoring of law enforcement agencies, and
oversight of human rights agencies and policy.

--The Institute for Security and Democracy focuses on
strengthening public security, the police, and professional
journalism, by reporting on security issues and applying
international programs to local Mexican police bodies.

--The Citizen's Council for Public Security and Justice
focuses on public security and aims to improve results from
public security and penal authorities.

--Amnesty International Mexico mobilizes volunteers into
action put an end to the grave abuses of human rights of
individuals and groups around the world and in Mexico.

--The Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of
Human Rights tracks issues related to military justice, due
process, transnational justice, and violence against women.

--ProDerecho is a multidisciplinary group with activities
focused on strengthening and consolidating the institutions
of the legal system. The ProDerecho staff specializes in
diverse areas of the justice system and implementing new
judicial reforms.

The following embassy agencies also participated in the
meeting:

Political Section (POL), Agency for International Development
(AID), Defense Attache Office (DAO), Narcotics Affairs
Section (NAS), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of
Justice (DOJ), Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), Public
Affairs Section (PAS), Legal Attache (Legatt).
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 /

WILLIARD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>