Press Release: U.S. Congress Sends Letter to Secretary Kerry Expressing Concern over Human Rights Crisis in Mexico, Urging Attention to Rule of Law in Bilateral Agenda

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August 11, 2016

Washington, DCYesterday, 69 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department to put strengthening the rule of law and defense of human rights at the top of the U.S. bilateral agenda with Mexico.

The letter states that members of Congress remain “troubled over the 27,000 unresolved cases of people who have disappeared in Mexico since 2007, and the slow pace of reforms in the military, law enforcement and justice sectors.” It also references the persistent use of torture in criminal investigations as “particularly disturbing.”

In the case of the 43 disappeared students from the Ayotzinapa rural teacher’s college, the letter calls on the United States to continue engaging with the Mexican government to discover what happened to the students and to hold perpetrators accountable, including Mexican officials who obstructed the investigation. The signers of the letter also call attention to grave abuses committed by Mexican security forces in Oaxaca and Tlatlaya, where justice is still pending.

“These strong expressions of concern over the human rights crisis in Mexico from members of the U.S. Congress are extremely important. A strong partnership between the United States and Mexico is one where human rights come first. The U.S. government should encourage the Mexican government to demonstrate real progress in responding to the thousands of victims who are still awaiting justice—simply publishing laws is not enough,” states Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Senior Associate for Mexico, Migrant Rights, and the Border.

The letter comes at a time when the U.S. State Department is reviewing the Mexican government’s progress in meeting human rights conditions required in the Merida Initiative, a U.S. security aid package. A few weeks ago, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) joined a group of seven other human rights organizations in submitting a memorandum demonstrating that the Mexican government had not met these human rights conditions.

Click here to read the full letter.
Click here to see Congressman Lowenthal’s press release.

Daniella Burgi-Palomino
Senior Associate
Mexico, Migrant Rights, Border Issues
Latin America Working Group
Phone: (202) 546-7010