Mexico officers kill squatters with impunity, rights report says

Tom Boland (
Sat, 31 Jan 1998 23:04:09 -0800 (PST)

FWD   Jan 30 1998


WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) _ The Clinton administration says, in its annual
report Congress on the human rights situation around the world that
corruption is rife within the ranks of Mexico's police and members of the
security forces
``continued to commit numerous human rights abuses.''

The report said President Ernesto Zedillo's government continued in 1997
``with limited success its attempt to end the 'culture of impunity'
surrounding the security forces.''

The report indicates, ``Major abuses included extrajudicial killings,
disappearances, torture, illegal arrests, arbitrary detentions, poor prison
conditions, lengthy pretrial detention, lack of due process, corruption and
inefficiency in the judiciary, (and) illegal searches.''

The report adds, ``vigilant killings, attacks against journalists, and
attacks and threats to human rights monitors were problems.''

According to the report the past year has seen ``members of the security
forces committed extrajudicial killings...(and) police and vigilantes
acting on behalf of local landowners continued to commit killings while
dislodging peasant squatters from rural lands in several states.''

In the southern state of Chiapas, where an armed insurgency flared four
years ago hundreds of peasants have been killed and at least 2,000
indigenous families abandoned their land out of fear of violent attack by
the paramilitary Peace and Justice group.


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