Rights group attacks impunity in Mexico

article19The limited attempts of the Mexican Government to tackle the high levels of violence against journalists testifies ‘to the inability or unwillingness of the Mexican authorities to make the fight against impunity,’ according to Article19, the freedom of expression NGO.

Dr. Agnes Callamard, executive director of the group, said in a statement that the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for violence against journalists is ‘one of the most alarming characteristics of the overall human rights situation in Mexico’.

Mexico is still the deadliest country in the Americas for journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Her words follows news yesterday that the parents of murdered IndyMedia journalist Brad Will are to launch their own independent investigation into the death of their son more than a year ago following a ‘disappointing’ official investigation by a Mexican Attorney General.

Persecuted journalist Lydia Cacho, who was imprisoned and tortured after writing a book about a child sex ring in Cancun, recently published a book about her experiences as the hands of the powerful in Mexico.

Cacho was told by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Louise Arbour that she should get out of Mexico to avoid more rights violations when the Commissioner visited Mexico in February.

‘This statement is motivated by the silence and seeming lack of political will of the present Government, led by President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, to comply with the obligations of the Mexican State to prevent and investigate human rights violations within its national territory, including those committed by third parties, and bring to justice those responsible.

‘The resulting circle of violence, danger, impunity, and self censorship is deeply affecting Mexican democracy, and is preventing the free circulation of ideas and information.’

Some steps have been made in tackling the high levels of violence. The Special Prosecution Office for the Investigation on crimes against journalists (FEADP) was created by the General Attorney’s Office on the15th of February 2006. That year also saw the introduction of new laws on the protection of sources and on the decriminalization of defamation at the federal district level.

The United Nations has also taken steps, albeit small ones. In December, the Security Council condemned attacks against journalists in general a UN Resolution. It included a series of recommendations for every state in the framework of international humanitarian law, which includes Mexico.

But despite the legislation and legal bodies in place to confront these crimes, they continue to occur and to go unpunished.

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