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Cablegate: Amnesty International Releases Report

VZCZCXRO6609
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #3641/01 3621756
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281756Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9560
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1177
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0384
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHME/USDAO MEXICO CITY MX
RHMFIUU/HQ USNORTHCOM

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 003641

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA DAS JACOBSON, MEXICO OFFICE
DIRECTOR LEE, D STAFF CUE, AND INL HOHMAN. NSC
FOR O'REILLY.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR UN MX
SUBJECT: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL RELEASES REPORT
CRITICAL OF MEXICO FOR MILITARY ABUSES

REF: Mexico 3627, Mexico 3617

1. (SBU) Summary: Amnesty International
criticized the Mexican military for alleged
human rights abuses in a report released on
December 8. Referring to five emblematic cases
involving murder, torture and illegal detention,
the report faulted the Government of Mexico
(GOM) for lack of transparency and civilian
oversight and threats against victims and their
families. President Calderon said that the GOM
would examine the report but defended the
military's record. The Embassy has developed a
human rights strategy to engage the GOM and NGO
community in a constructive dialogue on these
issues (ref A) but at this point the two sides
continue to talk past each other. End Summary.

2. (U) Amesty International (AI) released a
report December 8 critical of human rights
abuses by the Mexican military. According to
the report, the Mexican army has murdered
prisoners, tortured civilians and captured
suspects illegally. The report conveyed its
concern over a lack of transparency on cases,
threats against victims and their families, and
the military's insistence it retain jurisdiction
over alleged abuses committed by the military
officials. It highlighted five cases involving
35 individuals as emblematic of the military's
human rights record. It also noted that
complaints to the National Human Rights
Commission (CNDH) against the military had
increased from 367 in 2007 to over 2000 from
2008-June 2009. In the report, Amnesty
International stated, "Human rights violations
by the members of the military are not rare;
they are frequent and in some areas routine.
The failure of the civilian authorities to
effectively oversee military law enforcement
operations to ensure respect for human rights is
a grave omission."

3. (SBU) President Calderon said his government
would examine Amnesty International's findings
but defended its respect for human rights and
noted that the army had received human rights
training. Jose Guevara, the Human Rights
Director at the Interior Ministry (SEGOB), told
Poloff that SEGOB is preparing a formal response
that will state that it has asked CNDH, other
federal agencies, and state human rights
commissions to review the cases in the report.
A representative from the office of the new CNDH
President, Raul Plascencia, however, told us
that CNDH did not intend to issue a formal
statement on the report.

4. (SBU) The human rights NGO community's
concerns regarding the military's involvement in
human rights abuses goes to the heart of our
human rights strategy. We and Mexico are
discussing the creation of a bilateral human
rights working group that would include
representatives from SRE, SEGOB, SEDENA, and the
Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR). This working
group would complement dialogue occurring within
the context of a separate consultative working
group on a broader agenda of defense matters
including human rights. The Embassy also is
working with NORTHCOM to strengthen and expand
human rights training for the Mexican military.
Finally, the Embassy has established an NGO
roundtable with local human rights organizations
to promote human rights changes in the areas of
1) investigating and prosecuting abuses, 2)
improving transparency, 3) protecting human
rights defenders, and 4) tracking commitments
(ref A).

MEXICO 00003641 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) Comment: The release of the report by
Amnesty International comes at a time when the
GOM is under increased scrutiny by the
international community and NGOs who argue that
the military is ill-equipped for a domestic
policing role. President Calderon's yet
unannounced decision to replace the military
with the federal police as the lead on law
enforcement matters in Ciudad Juarez (ref B) is
a positive development given our view of the
military as a blunt-edged instrument ill-equiped
to combat organized crime groups. We will
continue our efforts to engage both the GOM and
the human rights NGO community in expanded
dialogue with a view to prompting more
constructive exchanges between the two sides and
ultimately greater transparency and
accountability on specific cases. End Comment.

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 /

PASCUAL

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