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Gross human rights abuses: The legal and illegal gun trade to Mexico

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Mexico faces an acute crisis of human rights violations and violent crimes, most of which are committed with firearms. The country is experiencing the highest homicide rate in its recorded history, with two out of every three homicides committed with firearms. Most guns recovered and tracedat crime scenes in Mexico -70%- come from the United States. And after more than a decade of military deployment to fight crime, new military equipment and firearms, and U.S. militarytraining for thousands of soldiers as part of the Merida Initiative, human rights violations by stateforces remain much higher than before the Initiative began, with nearly complete impunity.

It is time to make a decisive and substantial change of course. The change of leadership in Mexico provides a critical opportunity to heed the voices and analysis that have called for ending policiesof warfare and instead focusing on development, fighting poverty, and community investment.

In December 2006, then president of Mexico Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) implemented a security strategy, known as “the war on drugs,’ which, among other things, included militarizing public security. This strategy continued in full force under President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). This strategy has provoked escalated violence in the country, where organized criminal groups, police officials at all levels of government, and soldiers have committed serious crimes, including murders, forced disappearances, and torture. In that context, criminal organizations and state agencies have committed crimes against humanity.

Gross human rights abuses: The legal and illegal gun trade to Mexico

“In May 2018, the Trump administration proposed to make it easier to export u.s. guns and ammunition globally. The proposed rule treats semiautomatic assault rifles and other powerful firearms as “nonmilitary,” moving export licenses from the State Department to the Commerce Department and removing requirements for Congressional and public notification of licenses for gun exports of more than a million dollars.”

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