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Human Rights First Letter Regarding Giuliani Plan
for Mexico City

Human Rights First has sent a detailed letter Mexico City's Public Security Secretary Marcelo Ebrard offering a response to a summary of recommendations that the Secretariat circulated recently. The recommendations come from a consulting team headed by former NY mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani was contracted by Mexico City's government for USD4.3 million (paid by a group of Mexican businessmen) to conduct a review of policing and criminal justice and make recommendations.

Text of the Letter in English
Texto de la Carta en Espa�ol

The letter seconds many of the recommendations, several of which Human Rights First had made previously to Mexico City officials in a letter last March (see letter to Secretary Ebrard re new Public Security Law) , but raises significant questions about others. INSyDE (Instituto Para la Seguridad y la Democracia, A.C.), a new Mexican NGO focusing on policing and criminal justice sent a similar letter under separate cover after consulting with Human Rights First.

Text of INSyDE's Letter in Spanish


Towards a Real Rule of Law in Mexico

Pushing for Due Process and Accountable Police

Urge Caution Before Importing “Zero Tolerance” Policing to Mexico

For decades, Mexican police have been poorly trained, ill equipped and badly led. Unable to stand up to organized crime, political bosses, or their own sometimes corrupt leaders, police forces have been notoriously inefficient at bringing culprits to justice. Without the means to do their job properly, and little incentive to change from a passive judiciary, Mexican police have frequently resorted to extreme and brutal means. The result has been an extreme lack of confidence in public institutions, from the police station to the courthouse.


“Mexicans do not trust their police either to protect them from harm or to solve crimes”
– National Secretary of Public Security Alejandro Gertz Manero


Officials in the Fox administration admit that police frequently torture or otherwise use excessive force against suspects, compelling them to confess to crimes where no other evidence exists. The problem with Mexican police is a serious, multi-layered one of corruption, ineffectiveness, unaccountability and brutality. There are, however opportunities for change, as new administrations at all levels, and even the PRI begin to recognize that they need to seek new models for policing, or risk losing voter support.

Human Rights First's Approach to Reform in Mexico



Mexican Justice System: The Rules of the Game Invite Abuse

Intimidation, torture and extortion of detainees are entrenched practices in Mexican criminal justice. This is not simply because of “bad apples” in the police forces. Instead, the criminal justice system maintains incentives for the police to coerce statements out of defendants or witnesses – in other words, as the Mexican saying goes, “police detain in order to investigate, rather than investigate in order to detain.” more>>

Creating Accountable Police in Mexico

Across party lines, Mexican officials concede that their police are a dismal failure and a menace. Bowing to both domestic and international pressure for change, they have purged thousands of corrupt or violent police officers in the past decade. However, this “weeding out” has yet to significantly improve Mexican policing since broken institutions and bad practices remain intact — and bad cops regularly return to the job. more>>


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