Press Release: LAWG Joins International NGOs in Calling on U.S. State Dept. to Withhold Aid to Mexico Given Government’s Failure to Address Human Rights

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Press Release

Daniella Burgi-Palomino
(202) 546-7010 |

July 24, 2018

LAWG Joins International NGOs in Calling on U.S. State Dept. to Withhold Aid to Mexico Given Government’s Failure to Address Human Rights

Washington D.C.—The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) joined seven Mexican and American NGOs in publishing a new memo that makes clear that the Mexican government has failed to meet the human rights priorities outlined by Congress for fiscal year 2018. Every year the U.S. State Department reports to Congress on whether the Mexican government has made progress in several key areas in order to receive conditioned funds to the Mexican military. LAWG joins these organizations in calling on the U.S. Department of State to assess the Mexican government’s failure to meet these conditions and withhold aid.

Mexico has been living a human rights crisis fueled by impunity under the Peña Nieto Administration. Violations committed by security forces have resulted in thousands of disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and torture. Once again, there has been no significant improvements in holding perpetrators accountable. The United States should not be funding these abuses and, given the lack of progress, has a responsibility to withhold the conditioned aid to the military,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Senior Associate for Mexico, Migrant Rights and Border Issues.

The memo points to the Mexican government’s failure to make progress on a number of fronts including in investigating and prosecuting several cases of human rights violations, such as the emblematic case of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. Moreover, despite the passing of two new laws to address torture and disappearances, their implementation has been incipient and inadequate. Various mechanisms directed to be implemented under the Disappearance Law have been delayed, and consultations with civil society and family members on its execution have lacked transparency and engagement as required under the law. Full funding for these mechanisms to work effectively continues to be a major challenge.

The memo reads: “As Peña Nieto’s term comes to an end, we believe the State Department has an important opportunity to provide a thorough, accurate assessment of the human rights benchmarks laid out by Congress for U.S. security cooperation with Mexico. Such an assessment would signal to the current Mexican government as well as President-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador’s incoming administration the importance that the United States places on human rights in its bilateral relationship and cooperation with Mexico.”

Read the executive summary here.

Read the full memo here.