Members of Congress Urge Continued Strong Cooperation with Mexico on Human Rights, Rule of Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives, and ten other Members of Congress today released a letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico congratulating him on his new office and expressing continued support for strong cooperation between the United States and Mexico based on mutual respect and shared interests.
At a time when Mexico is faced with significant security and human rights challenges, the Members of the U.S. Congress communicated their interest in supporting the new Mexican president in his efforts to address corruption, strengthen the rule of law, and support the ongoing implementation of justice reforms -- challenges that require a sophisticated and coordinated response from both governments. The legislators highlighted opportunities to support the new National Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía General de la República), implementation of the Mexico’s landmark 2017 law addressing enforced disappearance and the work of the National Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders. They also expressed hope in engaging with Mexico on issues of regional importance, in particular the ongoing crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The signed letter is available here and the full text is reprinted below.
The bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was established by unanimous consent in the United States House of Representatives to promote, defend and advocate for international human rights. The Commission undertakes public education activities, provides expert human rights advice and encourages Members of Congress to actively engage in human rights issues.
Dear President López Obrador,
As Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Members of the United States Congress who are firmly committed to the U.S.-Mexico partnership, we write to congratulate you on your election to the presidency of Mexico and to communicate our continued support for strong cooperation between our two countries based on mutual respect and shared interests.
We recognize that you are assuming the presidency at a time when Mexico is faced with significant security and human rights challenges. As you take office, we look forward to engaging with your government in its efforts to address corruption, strengthen the rule of law, and support the ongoing implementation of justice reforms. As drug trafficking and transnational criminal activities—facilitated by corruption—continue to jeopardize the wellbeing of communities on both sides of our shared border, we understand that these challenges require a sophisticated and coordinated response from both of our governments.
As such, we remain dedicated to supporting your government’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of its justice and police institutions to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes, and to bring truth and justice to the thousands of victims of human rights abuses, including the disappeared and their families. We also view the creation of an autonomous and independent National Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía General de la República) as an important opportunity to further our cooperation in these efforts. We believe the new office provides the framework for improving domestic investigations into corruption, torture, and other grave human rights violations, and for holding accountable the public officials, security forces, and criminal organizations that perpetrate these abuses.
Civil society organizations, victims’ groups, and families of the disappeared have highlighted to members of our staff several areas where the United States can be supportive of the landmark law Mexico passed in 2017 to address disappearances. As you know, this law aims to strengthen Mexico’s institutional and legislative framework to undertake a nationwide strategy to search for the disappeared, to improve Mexico’s forensic capacities to process and identify thousands of remains that have been found in clandestine and mass graves throughout the country, and to investigate and hold accountable the perpetrators of crimes related to these cases. Important areas of potential collaboration include technical assistance in implementing the disappearances law and supporting the new National Prosecutor’s Office in investigating these crimes, as well as additional support for forensic services.
We remain concerned about the high number of murders and attacks against journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico. We express our support for the work of the National Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders and urge you to ensure full funding for the Mechanism and to take measures to strengthen capacities to investigate these crimes and effectively prosecute those responsible.
We have also been closely monitoring the humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela, the human rights situation in Nicaragua, and regional migration flows, and hope to engage with your government on these issues of regional importance.
We recognize and appreciate Mexico as a close neighbor, partner, and ally. As you prepare to take office, we look forward to working together with you and your government on the many issues of strategic importance to the U.S.-Mexico relationship, and to promoting respect for human rights in both countries.
Members of Congress