June 25, 2019
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UN rights chief hopes National Guard will make Mexico safer

Mexico City, Apr 9 (epa-efe).- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said here Tuesday that she hopes Mexico's new National Guard can end the "paradigm" of violence of the past 12 years in the Aztec nation.

"The National Guard represents an opportunity to build a force that makes the state's obligations compatible with security and - at the same time - safeguards the human rights of its inhabitants," Bachelet said after she and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed an agreement under which her office will provide assistance to Mexico.

The former Chilean head of state said she hoped that the new security agency will overcome the "paradigm" of the last 12 years, "which has left people unprotected and has been a source of grievances over their rights."

Bachelet was referring to the militarized war on drugs launched in December 2006 by then-President Felipe Calderon that led to more than 200,000 deaths.

Mexico registered 33,000 homicides last year.

Bachelet said the cooperation agreement was "broad" and covered more than just training support for the National Guard, which will have more than 50,000 members drawn from the Federal Police, army and navy.

Lopez Obrador, for his part, said the agreement on the National Guard, whose creation required a constitutional amendment, was an "important and almost historic act."

The president said the new law enforcement agency would make it possible for the army and navy to act officially and in accordance with the law while performing public safety tasks.

"It's a breakthrough," Lopez Obrador, the founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena), said.

The president once again expressed his support for the army, noting that it emerged from the 1910 Mexican Revolution that ended the dictatorship of Gen. Porfirio Diaz.

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the National Guard should "have its own DNA, training and approach to respecting human rights."

Public Safety Secretary Alfonso Durazo, for his part, said human rights violations "multiply and are perpetuated when there is impunity."

"And every outrage that is not clarified, punished or repaired, encourages repetition," Durazo said.

The public safety secretary said he expected the National Guard to help "restore peace" and be "exemplary" in adhering to the "highest international standards in the field of human rights."

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