University of Minnesota


Nº 16/98


1. During its 100th session, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ("the Commission" or "the IACHR") adopted the Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Mexico, by virtue of the competence attributed to it in the American Convention on Human Rights (Article 41), its Statute (Article 8) and the IACHR’s Regulations (Article 62). The report was based on information and documents received before, during, and after the IACHR’s on-site visit to Mexico from July 15 to 24, 1996, which took place at the invitation of its Government. It should be noted that this was the Commission’s first visit of this type to Mexico and this is its first general report on human rights in Mexico.

2. The backdrop to the report is a process of change in Mexico, in which significant progress has been made in strengthening the democratic system and the rule of law, especially in terms of free elections and an increasingly stronger civil society. The IACHR commends the interest of that society and of its authorities in keeping human rights in the agenda of the main national concerns. Despite the progress reflected by the report, serious problems, such as impunity, continue to hinder the full observance of human rights in the country.

3. In the examination of the human rights situation in Mexico, consideration was given first to the structure of the State, then to certain specific situations, such as violations of the right to life, personal freedom, and humane treatment. Also studied were the right to a fair trial in the country; political rights; the rights of indigenous populations; economic, social, and cultural rights; and the rights of women. It should be noted that, for the first time in an IACHR report on a country of the inter-American system, a special chapter has been devoted to freedom of expression. The report ends with the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations to the Mexican State, including a special recommendation on the importance of international technical cooperation to support efforts by the state and civil society to protect and promote human rights. As provided in the Regulations of the Commission, a preliminary version of the report was sent to the Mexican State, which issued its comments and observations, and provided information on certain specific questions. The pertinent parts of that information were incorporated into the text of the report.

4. The Commission trusts that the report will contribute to improve the situation of human rights in Mexico, and encourages the Mexican State to take every possible measure --in accordance with its internal procedures-- to comply with the recommendations set forth therein. The IACHR shall keep monitoring that situation closely, and to that end it shall continue to offer Mexico its cooperation in the terms of the American Convention. Finally, the IACHR thanks the Mexican State and the nongovernmental human rights organizations for their assistance in carrying out the visit and in the preparation of the report.

5. The complete text of the report can be found at the IACHR’s Internet website:

Washington, D.C., September 28, 1998


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