Mexico: rights commission confirms army abuses

On June 14, Jose Luis Soberanes Fernandez, president of Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), confirmed that soldiers had raped at least two underage girls and possibly two others during an anti-drug operation in Caracuaro, Michoacan, from May 2 to May 4. Soberanes was unable to say whether the military would punish the soldiers. But he added that the “Secretariat of National Defense [SEDENA] can’t be the judge and a party [in the case] at the same time.” President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa’s campaign to use the military across the country to control organized crime has led to several abuses, including the June 1 shooting deaths of five members of an extended family—three of them children—by soldiers in Sinaloa state. “[W]hat happened in Sinaloa tells us that the army isn’t prepared to take on the functions of the police,” Soberanes told the press on June 14. (La Jornada, June 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 17

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