Mexico denies violations in military’s anti-drug effortAugust 7th, 2009 - 10:22 am ICT by IANS
Mexico City, Aug 7 (DPA) Mexican authorities denied Thursday that the army is committing systematic human-rights violations in its fight against drug gangs, criticism from several sectors in the US for that reason.
“The Mexican Army has acted in properly in this fight against organised crime, and it has also launched a series of actions to strengthen its members’ training in this field,” Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa said.
She conceded that “occasionally and in isolated incidents do situations come up that might be described as abuse of authority, abuse of power, human-rights violations”.
Espinosa spoke after Senator Patrick Leahy blocked money in the upper chamber of the US Congress for the Merida Initiative, a US government programme to support Mexico’s fight against drug trafficking.
Organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say that Mexico has not complied with the requirements of the Merida Initiative, which are preconditions to issue the money.
The US plan, adopted in 2008, calls for three-year spending of $1.4 billion, about half of which has been spent. Human-rights stipulations in the plan include jurisdiction for the civilian justice system over any military abuse cases.
Espinosa stressed that Mexico is “open for scrutiny on human rights and cooperates with all United Nations organs in that field”.
The 2008 death toll from drug-related violence in Mexico was 6,290, with more than 3,000 slayings already this year. Thousands of Mexican troops and federal police have been deployed across the country to fight the feared drug gangs.
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