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Implausible Deniability: State Responsibility for Rural Violence in Mexico

NCJ Number
J Solomon; S Brett
Date Published
105 pages
This report examines the Mexican government's role in and responsibility for rural violence in several predominantly rural States, including Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Sinaloa.
Based on field research conducted by Human Rights Watch/Americas, this study found evidence of violent conflict stemming from political and religious differences, counterinsurgency, and disputes over land and other community resources that have led to serious and widespread human rights violations. In many instances, private citizens, not government officials, perpetrated the assassinations, abductions, threats, and expulsions documented in this report. In other cases, Mexican government authorities participated directly in abuses; however, even when private citizens alone were involved in crimes, government officials often facilitated their abusive acts, failed to prosecute the perpetrators, or appeared to use the judicial system to achieve partisan goals. Given the authorities' knowledge of abuses, responsibility to stop them, and obligation to apprehend and prosecute aggressors, the government's role in attacks by private citizens must be termed nothing short of willful negligence and complicity. Recommendations for addressing rural violence in Mexico are directed to the Federal Government of Mexico, the Federal Chamber of Deputies, the Chiapas State government, political parties contending for power in Chiapas, the U.S. Government, and the European Union (recommendations pertinent to international agreements with Mexico). 256 footnotes