We were disappointed and troubled to learn last week that the U.S. government had released the chunk of Merida Initiative funds that were supposed to have been withheld until the State Department reported that Mexico had demonstrated progress in key areas of human rights.
Soon after the news of the release was confirmed, the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, and the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, three prominent Mexican human rights NGOs, released a public statement condemning the U.S. government’s action, as the “human rights obligations remain unfulfilled as Mexican security forces commit widespread, unpunished violations against the civilian population.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who recently exercised his position as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations to freeze these funds, also issued a public statement expressing his deep disappointment that the State Department had “issued its report prematurely when there is so little progress to report.”
Senator Leahy also remarked that the report issued by the State Department about the status of human rights in Mexico “is most notable for how little it says about the key issue – impunity within the Mexican military. It is well known that the military justice system is manifestly ineffective, and it is apparent that neither the Mexican government nor the State Department has treated human rights abuses by the military, which is engaging in an internal police function it is ill-suited for, as a priority since the law was enacted over a year ago…Reform of Mexico’s dysfunctional judicial system…is critical to the success of the Merida Initiative and to addressing the culture of lawlessness that pervades Mexican society.”
If you need to catch up on the issue of these controversial funds, take a look at:
LAWG’s Action Alert
LAWG’s Blog Posts