Saturday, January 7, 2012

Human Rights in Mexico

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As the United Nations states, ‘Human Rights are the rights to life, liberty and a decent human existence’. From receiving an education to being exempt from arbitrary arrest they allow us to live dignified lives and more often than not in first world countries, are taken for granted. People all around the world, however, have these fundamental rights abused and violated by others on a daily basis.

Mexico is located in Middle America bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US. Famous for the Aztecs, an ancient civilisation that presided in the region, Mexico is, surprisingly, a hotspot for Human Rights violations. In the following essay I will examine specifically the violations against Mexico’s indigenous people, against its women and allegations of torture in the region and subsequently decide where it belongs on the Human Rights ladder.

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Paragraph 1 � Violations against Indigenous People

Long subject to discrimination, repression and marginalization, Mexico’s indigenous population, 8% of which live in extreme poverty, is one of the most ill treated and violated in the world. They are constantly violated with their high rate of illiteracy, due to lack of government support, and their inability to participate in decisions regarding their lands and cultural traditions being minor examples. The main problem is, however, their treatment by the military, which constantly harasses their communities. For example in the Chiapas rebellion of 14, the military executed, tortured and arbitrarily arrested countless indigenous people for no apparent reason. Also, on December 17, a military death-squad massacred 45 indigenous people associated with an opposition movement. This political massacre focused attention on Mexico but clearly did nothing to quell the violations against indigenous people and those associated with them as Heriberto Pazos Ortiz, the leader of an indigenous rights movement, was shot and seriously injured only a few months later.

In Conclusion, the treatment of indigenous Mexican’s, especially by the military, is appalling. Their rights to nationality, to take part in government, to not be arbitrarily arrested and to not be subjected to torture, to name a few, all get seriously violated by others in the community and, in relation to the rest of the world, rates Mexico as one of the worst countries for Indigenous people.

Paragraph � Violations against Women

Women in Mexico suffer some of the most serious and degrading abuses of Human Rights in the world. Accounts of rape, murder and general inequality are commonplace, rarely reported and something that women, everyday, have to live with. 17-year-old Valentina Rosendo Cantu, for example, was allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted by members of the Mexican Army when she did not give them information on opposition members. This sexual violence in Mexico is widespread and vastly unreported and amazingly it is said that on average a women is raped every 6 minutes. Another common violation is domestic violence, which is the fourth highest cause of death for women. A staggering one million women also seek medical assistance due to it and though organizations are attempting to educate Mexican families against such practices, it continues to be a massive problem. One of the most obvious examples of inequality, however, is in the workforce. Although the Constitution states “equal pay shall be given for equal work performed in equal jobs, hours of work and conditions of efficiency” women are generally paid less and thus are concentrated in lower-paying jobs. This is because when applying for a job, studies suggest, a women needs 4 more years of education to gain the job over a comparably similar man.

Overall, the treatment of women sends another grave note to the world about Human Rights in Mexico. The rights of equality, life and no degrading treatment are consistently violated in the treatment of women in Mexico and yet again places Mexico low on the scale compared to the other countries in the world.

Paragraph � Torture

Torture is also another major problem, Human Rights wise, in Mexico and although the Constitution prohibits it, the police regularly use it to obtain information. Its practice is mainly due to the poorly trained police officers that use torture-forced confessions to solve crimes and even the array of legal safeguards is powerless as a result. It has, however, begun to be cracked down on by the government with not only tougher penalties but also officials willing to enforce it being introduced. For example, after several Amuzgo Indians were severely beaten, nearly suffocated in foul water and suspended form their limbs an official government inquiry was held, found those responsible and jailed them for 7 years.

In conclusion, the occurrence of torture in Mexico is not quite as appalling as the previous two aspects. Although in the past people have severely tortured and violated others’ rights without being punished the government has begun to crack down on this and shows that change for the better is beginning to occur in Mexico, something that the world is very much welcome to.

Paragraph 4 � Ways for improving

Although the Human Rights situation in Mexico seems pretty grim in some areas, there is a possibility that a solution can be found in the future. In relation to Indigenous people, all they really need is proper, unthreatened representations that can stand up for their rights and give them greater freedom as a result. Proper awareness from the outside world would help them greatly in achieving this aim as then the Mexican military would be unwilling to abuse their Human Rights and thus they could then push for some form of government representation without fear of repercussions. For Mexican women, awareness would also help them greatly as then westerners would realise the problems that they face everyday and eventually someone would attempt to stop it from occurring. With relation to torture, the government is already on the way to stamping this out and is showing excellent signs for the future thus meaning that no real action is needed towards torture except maybe the better training of police officers to stop torture being used to solve crimes. Overall clearly the most needed action for serious violations is to raise awareness of the issue, as this would subsequently stop these abuses from occurring in the first place as people are willing to commit abuses in secret yet unwilling when they know they are being watched.

Paragraph 5 � Conclusion

In conclusion it is clear that with relation to Human Rights Mexico performs very poorly. It consistently and often violently abuses its Indigenous populations by harassing them with its military and intimidating its political leaders. Another poor Human Rights area is Mexico’s treatment of women. Sexual violence running riot, women having to work 4 more years than men and domestic violence claiming over than 1 million women each year are but some of the appalling abuses against women in Mexico. However, Mexico is beginning to reform as the crackdown on torture by the new unbiased government shows. Because of this evidence I believe that Mexico belongs on the Low Level Respect for Human Rights rung of the Human Rights ladder. It is not higher because I believe that it performs too poorly in too many areas to be considered in the medium or high levels. Conversely it is not lower on the ladder because in my view it is beginning to reform its ways and is showing considerable promise for the future. This future is looking increasingly bright for abused Mexicans as the new and reformed government is cracking down on Human Rights violations which inhibit our ability to fully develop and maintain our dignity.

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