Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laughs as he speaks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the United Nations climate change summit in Le Bourget, France on November 30, 2015. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
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"I don't know who could be a friend of Pena Nieto."
'Dirt in Mexico's beautiful face'"This is something that the government doesn't like. They don't like people who are trying to make the truth visible or who, in their eyes, would throw dirt in Mexico's beautiful face." The UN report linked the increase in violence to the escalation in the war on drug traffickers that former Mexican president Felipe Calderon began in 2006. Since then, annual complaints of torture and ill-treatment by authorities topped 2,100 in 2012, after an average of about 320 a year before 2007. The UN report also expressed particular concern about sexual violence against female detainees, including forced nudity and "repeated rape by multiple individuals."
Complaints of torture, rape against authoritiesWhen Trudeau and Obama meet their Mexican counterpart next week, they need to "open their eyes and not trust what Pena Nieto says" about the rights situation in Mexico, said Claudia Medina, the founder of Mexico's Breaking the Silence campaign, which highlights violence against women by her country's security forces. Medina became an activist after her 36-hour arrest in 2012, when she was subjected to electric shocks, strangulation and sexual torture in a navy barracks to force her to confess to being linked to organized crime. Charges against her were dropped earlier this year. Pilar Aresse, of Mexico's Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Centre, said Mexican activists need to go beyond their country's borders to find justice, because it can't be found at home.
Time to be 'frank'"Our own lives may be at risk and we do not trust our Mexican authorities."
Alex Neve, head of Amnesty International Canada, said he wants Trudeau to raise human rights issues with Pena Nieto during their bilateral meetings, and in talks with Obama, so they aren't "pushed to the side."
"They need to be right at the heart of the exchanges that happen between our two governments, including at his (Trudeau's) level."
Neve also called on the federal government to lift its visa on Mexican travellers, calling it a barrier to Mexicans seeking sanctuary from abusive situations.
Feds to lift visa requirements: sources
Sources have told The Canadian Press that the government, which has already committed to lifting the visa requirement, intends to announce its plans for keeping that promise when Pena Nieto is in town next week.
Canadian officials are pushing to have the plans linked to the implementation of a new electronic travel authorization system that was supposed to have been in place by March of this year but has been delayed.
They have concerns about the changes resulting in a spike in asylum claims; among the options being negotiated with the Mexicans is the ability to re-impose the visa requirement if the number of claims gets too high.
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