Comment by UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk on ruling by Mexico’s Supreme court invalidating transfer of National Guard to military control

I call on the Mexican authorities to act swiftly on the ruling by the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional last year’s legal transfer of the National Guard to military control.

It is essential to ensure the civilian nature of the National Guard, in line with the Mexican Constitution and international human rights standards. I hope that the Court’s decision will encourage a broad dialogue that contributes to enhancing the capabilities of civilian law enforcement agencies and leads to a limitation of the role of the armed forces in public security tasks.

This is all the more vital given that the increased militarization of law enforcement in Mexico, in particular since 2006, has led to a rise in allegations of human rights violations by the armed forces. Over the years, my Office and other international human rights bodies have repeatedly called for public security to be in the hands of civilian law enforcement agencies in Mexico.

Armed forces should only be deployed in law enforcement functions temporarily, in exceptional circumstances, subordinated to civilian authorities and always under the effective supervision of independent civilian bodies.

The ruling by the Supreme Court also underscores the importance of the independence and separation of powers and the existence of institutional checks and balances.


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