Monday, December 05, 2011

Alleged Drug War Tactics Under Fire

Five years after Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on the country's violent drug traffickers, his government is fighting accusations by human-rights activists that it allowed the killing, torture and kidnapping of civilians in its drug war. While the government denies systematic abuses, mounting reports of such cases could erode popular support for the offensive by Mr. Calderón. And with Mr. Calderón's legacy largely built on his fight against organized crime, the reports could also hurt his party's bid to hold on to the presidency in elections next year.

Netzai Sandoval, a Mexican human-rights lawyer, asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Nov. 25 to investigate Mr. Calderón and top security officials—along with leading drug lords—for alleged war crimes. The request came with a petition signed by more than 23,000 people, led by a group of mostly leftist academics, jurists and journalists. The petition says the abuse by the Mexican state is systematic. The petition names Mr. Calderón and his top security officials for at least 470 specific cases of human-rights abuses. A recent Human Rights Watch report said it found strong evidence of participation of security forces in 170 cases of torture, 39 disappearances, and 24 incidents of extrajudicial killings. Since Mr. Calderón took office five years ago, 46,000 people have died in drug-related violence, most of it, according to the government, between rival cartels fighting for turf. The president has sent 45,000 troops to try to quell the violence and reclaim territory from drug lords. He has also tried to improve the local and federal police forces.

This is neglect and abuse by the government. All of this evidence clearly demonstrates that the government has been encouraging acts that deprive Mexican citizens of human rights. The government should be held accountable for this disturbing amount of torture that it encouraged to inflict onto others. There is a tremendous amount of corruption that is taking over the government and there is a similar trend in many other countries that are known as third world. This is a step to hold the government accountable to improve human rights in Mexico and in other parts of the world.

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