Geneva.— The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chilean Michelle Bachelet, warned of the “high level of political violence” during the recent Mexican elections and expressed her “grave concern” about the repression against protesters in Colombia.
In her opening speech at the 47th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Bachelet said “alarmed by the high level of political violence in the electoral context” of the legislative and local elections in Mexico at the beginning of the month.
“Mexico held its biggest elections this month with several challenges. I was concerned about the political violence in the electoral context. At least 91 representatives and party members, including 36 electoral candidates, were assassinated during the electoral period that began in September 2020, ”said the Chilean diplomat, who also denounced attacks and threats against politicians, their supporters and officials. Parties across the spectrum, he said, “have been affected.”
Regarding women, he denounced that they have suffered “gender and sexual violence and smear campaigns.”
In this sense, the official called on the Mexican authorities not to attack those who do not agree with the electoral bodies.
“I encourage the authorities not to use language that undermines those who disagree with or question the independence of autonomous bodies, including electoral institutions,” he said.
The June 6 elections, in which President Andrés Manuel López Obrador maintained his parliamentary majority despite losing seats, were marked by numerous acts of violence, even on the same voting day in which five people who were killed were killed. they organized the electoral system.
“It is vital to ensure accountability for these acts and ensure that they will not be repeated,” said the United Nations High Commissioner.
In addition, he applauded “the recent ruling of the Supreme Court that accepts the recommendation for urgent action of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances as legally binding for the Mexican authorities.”
Bachelet mentioned the Mexican situation when recalling a series of cases that, he said, are cause for concern by the UN due to human rights violations.
Among them he mentioned Afghanistan, Belarus, Chad and Mali; the national security law passed in China for Hong Kong; the political upheaval in Haiti and the high levels of insecurity.
The former Chilean president also addressed the wave of anti-government protests that erupted since late April in Colombia. “My office has expressed grave concern over allegations of serious human rights violations by the security forces,” said Bachelet.
According to the data provided by the UN chief for human rights, from April 28 to June 16 there were 56 deaths (54 civilians and two police officers), especially in Cali, in addition to 49 victims of sexual violence.
Civil authorities and the Colombian Ombudsman’s Office raise this balance to at least 61 deceased persons, including two uniformed men.
Bachelet also stressed that “although most of the demonstrations were peaceful, there were some episodes of violence” and encouraged “dialogue to resolve the crisis.”
The high commissioner did not address in her speech the situation in Nicaragua and Venezuela, two other burning issues in Latin America, since they will be analyzed in more detail later in the session.
Opening the council session, he said that we are experiencing “times of serious setbacks in human rights. Extreme poverty, inequalities and injustice are on the rise. The democratic and civic space is being eroded ”.