Saturday, December 26, 2009

Beltran Leyva fallout (update) and human rights commissions

Ten people were killed over Christmas in Sinaloa. Even for Sinaloa, that's bad – about 4 times the normal homicide rate. I guess the Beltran Leyva crew and Chapo's folks are squaring off.

Now, for the post of the day: Are human rights in mexico a complete joke?
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) was formed in 1989, by the government. It was 10 years before it became an independent organization; cynics claimed it was created simply to give the appearance that Mexico was doing something vis a vis human rights during the Salinas sexenio – they were probably right.

Now, however, the CNDH (and its mexico city equivalent) is independent. It regularly speaks out on behalf of the nation's oppressed masses, and files complaints with the government.


The CNDH, and all the state and city commissions, are obligated to accept and file any complaint that is made. This has created an immense backlog of ridiculous claims, which understaffed offices then have to deal with. The complaints can be totally crazy (one that springs to mind is Sandra Avila Beltran, the narco, who complained that her human rights were being denied because their were cockroaches in her prison cell) and should be rejected outright. But because everyone has a right to be heard, they have to be accepted.

Mexico needs to be more tolerant, there's no doubt about it. But in order that a tolerant government not be manipulated and taken advantage of, it must also be firm and be willing to say no. Being tolerant is not the same as being a pushover. Some of these complaints should be thrown straight in the trash, which would then help to boost the CNDH's credibility.

Tomorrow: Did the Navy act outside the law, and go after Arturo Beltran Leyva with intent to kill? (Hint: yes.)

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