Skip to main content

Mexico: Rights Commission Distorts HRW Report

Officials Should Address Deficiencies, Not Defend Them

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission undermines its own credibility by distorting the findings of a Human Rights Watch report, Human Rights Watch said today. The commission’s claim that it found “48 errors” in the report does not withstand scrutiny and it is a blatant tactic to sidestep the critical issues of its effectiveness.

On March 12, 2008, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) responded to Human Rights Watch’s report, “Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission: A Critical Assessment.” Top CNDH officials had already publicly denounced the HRW report when it was released in February, claiming that it contained “45 lies” or “more than 45 errors.” The commission’s written response, which was approved by its advisory council, purports to substantiate these claims by detailing “48 errors” in the report.

“The commission’s response is a sad attempt to deflect attention from its ineffectiveness,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of taking the opportunity to learn from constructive criticism and use it to help victims of rights abuses, the commission resorts to distortions and specious arguments to dismiss it.”

The CNDH response attempts to substantiate its claim of having found “48 errors” by:

  • Repeatedly citing a single alleged “error” and recycling the arguments to generate multiple “error” allegations;
  • Arguing that Human Rights Watch failed to consider key documents that are in fact discussed in the report;
  • Misinterpreting the Human Rights Watch report and alleging that the report made inaccurate claims that were never made;
  • Citing sections of the Human Rights Watch report and comments on those excerpts without explaining what the supposed “error” is; and,
  • Arguing incorrectly that facts not mentioned in the Human Rights Watch report undermine the report’s findings.

Human Rights Watch has found only four instances in which the CNDH identifies phrases or passages in the report that are to some extent imprecise. However, none of these minor inaccuracies affect the overall conclusion or any of the factual findings of the report.

“The commission can distort its critics’ views, but those criticisms aren’t going away,” said Vivanco. “Eventually the commission will have to take them more seriously if it’s at all interested in having a more meaningful impact on human rights in Mexico.”

Your tax deductible gift can help stop human rights violations and save lives around the world.

Region / Country