Mexican President Calls US State Department “Liar” After Human Rights Report
MEXICO CITY, March 21 (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday firmly dismissed criticism of his government’s human rights record, calling reports of official abuses “lies” in a new US State Department study.
The report released on Monday says there are credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings by police, military and other officials in Mexico; forced disappearances by government agents; and torture and inhuman treatment by security forces.
The report also noted that “impunity and extremely low prosecution rates remain a problem for all crimes, including human rights abuses and corruption,” and criticized violence against journalists in Mexico.
When asked about the report at a press conference, Lopez Obrador dismissed it, saying “you are lying” and noting that the US “believes they are the government of the world.”
“It’s not worth getting angry about, they just are,” said Lopez Obrador, who is scheduled to meet with former US Secretary of State John Kerry in Mexico later Tuesday. The report “is not true, they are liars.”
Acting State Department spokesman Vedant Patel, at a news conference, dismissed criticism that Washington was acting like “the government of the world” and doubled down on the human rights report’s findings.
“Regarding Mexico, the reported involvement of members of the Mexican police, military and other government institutions in gross acts of corruption and unlawful arbitrary killings remains a serious challenge to Mexico and therefore they have been highlighted in our report,” he said.
Lopez Obrador has resisted recent US criticism of his security record, which has come under increasing scrutiny since the kidnapping of four American citizens in northern Mexico earlier this month. Two of them were later found dead.
The left-wing president, who says he is eliminating corruption and impunity in Mexico, has argued his country is safer than the US – despite a much higher homicide rate – and has criticized US efforts to prevent dangerous drugs from being imported into the United States.
reporting by Dave Graham; additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, editing by Jonathan Oatis
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