Human Rights Body Questions Provision in Mexican FOI Law

3 March 2016

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has expressed reservations about a provision in the new Mexican freedom of information law.

The comments are included in a report entitled “The Human Rights Situation in Mexico.”

“Although the Law contains a prohibition against hiding or denying information related to gross human rights violations, the Commission points out that article 157 of this Law authorized the Office of the Legal Counsel of the Presidency to appeal any decision to declassify information by the National Institute for Access to Information, if doing so poses risks for national security interests,” the report states.

“Even though this provision is applicable to any subject matter, it is expected to have a particularly complex effect with respect to information related to investigations of human rights violations,” according to the report. “According to this provision, the appeal must be filed with the Supreme Court, and it presents at least two challenges for the prosecution of justice in terms of human rights: delays in the access to critical information necessary to investigate these gross violations, and establishing clear guidelines or criteria to be applied when making a decision regarding such reservation and appeals.”

The Commission also reports that when it visited Mexico it “was made aware of a gradual regression in terms of active transparency policies and public information regarding the deaths of civilians and members of the armed forces in security operations, particularly when there is involvement by the armed forces.”

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