Don’t Adopt ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ Rule

Target: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico

Goal: Withdraw proposal of a legal system reform that would impose a setback in human rights.

The Mexican government is quietly trying to destroy some fundamental legal protections for its citizens, in a move that will impose a setback to human rights in the country. Reform in Mexico’s legal system is set to broaden the power of the state to detain suspects for years before trial, enable the police to rely on hearsay in court, potentially allow prosecutors to use evidence obtained by torture, and expand the army’s enforcement of domestic security. The move is in blatant contradiction with President Enrique Peña Nieto’s rhetoric against human rights violations around the world, especially regarding the recent proposal of a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. President Peña Nieto should, therefore, be called out on his attacks to the legal protections framework in his country and immediately withdraw any plan that might harm human rights in Mexico even more.

Mexico is a country deeply affected by the so-called war on drugs, and throughout the years, this despicable war has led to severe abuse by police forces and other authorities, torture, disappearances, summary and extrajudicial executions, and virtually guaranteed impunity. Mexican military kills more combatants than it injures, and by 2014, the nation’s elite marine forces would kill roughly 30 combatants for each one they injure. When it comes to punishing torture, there have been only 15 convictions out of 4,000 complaints analyzed by Mexico’s attorney general since 2006. In Mexico, fewer than 2 percent of murder cases are successfully prosecuted. Organizations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations have already expressed that Mexico provides prominent examples of violation of human rights standards.

Instead of fixing the problems related to its enormous human rights crisis, the Mexican government has decided to promote a false image of a modern, ascending nation and a regional leader. It has worked hard to formally stand as a state that defends international human rights by praising a globalized view on issues such as trade, economics, and culture. However, it is just not possible to be a modern nation when the government proposes a reform that flips the very premise of modern justice. In the proposal presented by the Peña Nieto administration, one is guilty before proved innocent — rather than innocent before proved guilty, as it is today. The new law would require concrete evidence of reasonable doubt, essentially shifting the burden of proof to the accused and damaging the fundamental right to a proper defense. Sign the petition below to demand that Mexican government withdraw this abominable proposal and start seriously working on improving human rights standards in the country.


Dear Mr. Peña Nieto,

The world is concerned about the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a proposal that has been considered by the current U.S. government. I am firmly sympathetic to Mexicans’ claims that a southern border wall would be a huge assault on their dignity and disrespect to their civil and human rights. However, it is a great contradiction that while standing against xenophobic attacks, your administration is trying to roll back legal protections for Mexicans at home. The recent proposal of reform in Mexico’s legal system represents a considerable setback to human rights and puts your citizens in danger.

Despite your portrayal of Mexico as a modern nation, the country has struggled for years with mounting violence, and it is known for obvious disrespect of human rights standards. Rather than proposing a law that would hurt citizens’ fundamental rights, you should work on solutions that would strengthen such rights. I demand you to immediately withdraw the recent proposal of reform in Mexico’s legal system.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: See Li

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One Comment

  1. These proposed reforms would basically remove all rights of the people. Anyone accused of a crime would basically be f***d. These reforms would give the government complete TOTALITARIAN control, which of course is their aim.
    These laws must NOT be passed.

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226 Signatures

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