Mothers of the disappeared participate in the second National March for Dignity (Marcha de la Dignidad Nacional) in Mexico City, 10 May 2013, on Mother’s Day (in Mexico).

Human rights in Mexico

Many Canadians know Mexico as a luxurious winter get-away, a tourism paradise. But the vast majority of Mexicans experience a very different reality.

Poverty, discrimination and inequity mean that millions of Mexicans face insurmountable challenges to meet basic human needs with regard to food, water, housing, health and education. Yet those who mobilize in defence of these rights are repaid with threats and deadly attacks, particularly when their activism challenges powerful economic interests. The perpetrators are rarely brought to account, creating a climate of injustice which fuels more abuses.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the situation is getting worse and now constitutes nothing less than a security and human rights crisis, which includes:

  • Thousands of killings and abductions carried out by drug cartels and other criminal gangs, at times acting in collusion with the police or other public officials.
  • Widespread reports of grave human rights violations, including torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and excessive use of force by army and navy personnel.
  • Routine violations of the rights of Indigenous peoples, including the right to free, prior and informed consent regarding resource extraction projects on Indigenous lands.
  • Ongoing, widespread sexualized violence against women in the notorious Ciudad Juárez and many other parts of Mexico, fuelled by failure to provide access to justice to victims or their families.
  • Attacks, intimidation and murders of journalists, creating a climate of fear that prevents the truth from being told.

Canada and Mexico have long enjoyed a special relationship, cemented by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and extended via cooperation in other key areas. Amnesty International Canada has repeatedly called for the protection of human rights to be the overriding priority for all of our engagement, particularly in light of the current crisis.

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