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Human rights organization finds "serious crisis" in Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- The human rights situation Mexico is "tragic" and the problems don't just involve drug violence but also torture, impunity, excessive force and police collusion with criminals, an Organization of American States panel said Wednesday.

A report by the Washington-based Inter-American Human Rights Commission also cited increasing detentions of Central American migrants and attacks on journalists and human rights workers, many of which occurred under the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in 2012.

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The report praised some recent judicial reforms, but said they haven't really been implemented yet.

"Despite the change in administration in December 2012, in practice there have been no substantial changes with regard to security policies and the violence levels," the report said. "Of particular concern are the reports of disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture."

The commission acknowledged that Mexico had made significant constitutional and legislative reforms but said that everywhere it went during its visit "it met with victims, family members, and defenders, who described the barriers that they have run up against in their quest for justice, as well as their distrust of the authorities."

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Police are often believed to be ineffective, or in league with criminals. The report notes that 98 percent of crimes go unpunished in Mexico.

"Family members' discoveries of mass graves with dozens of bodies underscore that they are the ones who have undertaken the search for their loved ones given the State's ineffectiveness," the report said.

It also cited three cases in which survivors have accused Mexican security forces of essentially executing suspects.

The government acknowledged problems, but said the report "unfortunately does not reflect the general situation in the country, and starts off from erroneous premises and diagnoses."

The government suggested the problems were localized and said "there is no crisis of human rights in our country."

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