The Mexican government issued a strong rebuttal yesterday to a recent Human Rights Watch report that criticizes President Felipe Calderón’s use of the military for policing and other civilian matters. The report contends that “Mexico’s armed forces have committed serious human rights violations, including killings, torture, rapes, and arbitrary detentions.”
In its response, the government claims it has achieved major advances in human rights in recent years and that military intervention has only been authorized in response to demands from civil authorities. The government also stated that “military intervention in public safety is only temporary.”
Since taking office, President Calderón has deployed 45,000 soldiers and 20,000 federal agents to support an increasingly violent campaign against drug cartels. The U.S. has largely supported Mr. Calderón’s anti-drug policies and has allocated $1.12 billion to assist Mexico in its efforts. The disbursement of these funds, however, has also been contingent on Mexico’s fulfillment of its human rights obligations.