Mexican Human Rights Activist Murdered | Freedom House

Mexican Human Rights Activist Murdered

The situation for human rights activists in Mexico remains grave as evidenced by the murder of Nepomuceno Moreno, who was shot to death while crossing the street in Hemosillo, Mexico. Moreno was a spokesperson for the citizen group Movement for Peace, founded by poet Javier Sicilia to protest violence resulting from the government crackdown on drug cartels, and was a part of the meeting this movement had with President Calderon demanding change last month. Freedom House calls on police to conduct a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Moreno’s death. Moreno, who claimed that his son, Jorge Mario Moreno, was kidnapped by police, feared for his safety after his son disappeared in July 2010. He requested yet never received protection from Calderón and the Federal Prosecutor when they met in October 2011.

The human rights situation in Mexico has greatly deteriorated since the Mexican government began its war on drugs in 2006.  Shortly after taking office, President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against organized crime and drug cartels in Mexico and deployed the military into the hardest hit areas. To date, there have been more than 40,000 uninvestigated deaths, 3,000 disappearances, and several thousand people displaced. Lower courts and law enforcement are ineffective and undermined by corruption. In an effort to combat the widespread impunity, the Mexican Supreme Court in July 2011 ruled that military officers should be tried in civilian and not military courts when accused of murder or human rights abuses.  Last week, Mexican human rights activists filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling  for an investigation into Mexican President Felipe Calderon, top officials and a drug trafficker, accusing them of "allowing subordinates to kill, torture and kidnap civilians."
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