Ahead of President Barack Obama’s meetings in Mexico and at the Summit of the Central American Integration System in Costa Rica, more than 145 civil society organizations signed an open letter to the Heads of States of the United States and Mesoamerican region.
The letter highlighted the frequently devastating impact of United States policy and security agendas on Mexico and Central American countries. It calls for demilitarization of the region, stating:
“Our organizations have documented an alarming increase in violence and human rights violations. While we recognize that transnational crime and drug trafficking play a role in this violence, we call on our governments to acknowledge that failed security policies that have militarized citizen security have only exacerbated the problem, and are directly contributing to increased human suffering in the region. It is time to refocus regional dialogue and resource investment to address the root causes of violence.”
The letter provides analysis and recommendations on three key issues requiring urgent attention:
- Militarization of the drug war which has caused increased violence and has failed to provide citizen security.
- The imposition of large-scale extractive projects on marginalized communities does not constitute “development.”
- Violations of migrant rights continue while policies disregard the root causes of migration.
Obama: Address Human Rights Failures of Joint Counternarcotics Strategy, Human Rights Watch, 29 April 2013.