July 22, 2016
Washington DC- Today, on the occasion of President Obama’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the White House, the Latin America Working Group joins six other human rights organizations in denouncing the lack of progress made by the Mexican government to meet the human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative and in calling on the U.S. State Department to withhold security aid once again.
Under the Merida Initiative, 15 percent of funds to the Mexican military and police are conditioned on the State Department certifying to Congress that the Mexican government has demonstrated progress in advancing human rights in related security operations.
Last year, the State Department decided to withhold these funds for the first time since 2008, a decision that LAWG applauded.
The bilateral meeting between the Mexican and U.S. Presidents comes just at a time when the State Department is evaluating the Mexican government’s efforts to meet the requirements. The joint memo from the seven human rights organizations outlines these four human rights requirements in the Merida Initiative and provides extensive examples of how the Mexican government has fallen short in meeting each of them.
“If the State Department is serious about implementing the human rights conditions in the Merida Initiative, it must make the decision to withhold security aid to Mexico once again. There has been no progress by the Mexican government, only pushback and lack of political will. U.S. aid should not support any perpetrators of human rights violations, withholding aid again would communicate that these abuses won’t be accepted,” said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Senior Associate for Mexico, Migration and the Border.
The groups signing on to the memorandum include Amnesty International; Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh), Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan; Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos A.C. (CADHAC); Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Investigación; Latin America Working Group (LAWG); and Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).