June 15, 2021

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Police violence persists in Latin American and Caribbean countries, Amnesty International denounces

Investigative police officers during an operation in Mexico City (Mexico). Photo: EFE / Mario Guzmán

MEXICO – The police continue to carry out extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions and torture, among others, in most of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, a reality that encourages the already violent context, according to Amnesty International denounced this Monday.

“The region continues to be the most violent. 37% of global homicides occur in the American continent, and almost all of them in Latin America and the Caribbean. (…) And these (heavy-handed) policies and security approaches have only caused a major human rights crisis, ”stated Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International (AI).

In the initial session of the international dialogues “Police under the magnifying glass”, several experts put on the table the general situation regarding the weaknesses of the police forces in the region and began the debate on the possible ways to promote changes and improve the supervision of the police forces. themselves.

“The violence of the police, with arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions or torture are historical and these human rights violations have been registered for years but now they are a constant reality in many countries of the region,” added the expert.

According to what was mentioned in the dialogue, Guevara established that there are three main contexts that need an in-depth analysis.

The first is related to the notion of these police policies as “strong hand” policies, the failure of which is evidenced through the growing influence of organized crime that occupies a large territorial space in countries such as Mexico or El Salvador and with which economies proliferate. illegal for the supply of arms.

Secondly, he mentioned the violent repression by the police forces when governments lose the capacity for dialogue.

“According to AI, in 2019 there were 210 violent deaths in the context of demonstrations in countries such as Haiti, Venezuela, Bolivia or Honduras,” the expert specified.

Finally, Guevara wanted to recall the importance of the context of violence against human rights defenders and journalists, which ultimately portrays the close link between police violence and the large economic interests that defenders and journalists can harm.


For his part, the president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Joel Hernández, commented that the main objective would be for the population to end up having trust in the security forces because they are doing their job and protecting citizens.

For this, three challenges should be tackled: the development of policies that lead to effective and independent investigations, the implementation of a system of coordination between the public powers to combat the high rates of impunity, and the introduction of independence mechanisms in the police forces.

“The most basic thing is to know what to do when they occur: Have a diligent investigation, that from there there is a punishment or sanction for those responsible and, from there, that there is comprehensive reparation and identification of preventive measures,” he concluded the expert.

“Police under the magnifying glass”, convened by Amnesty International, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) of Jamaica, the Center for Human Rights of the University of Essex and Open Society Foundations, will offer during the next five days panels, workshops and groups of work around the violence exercised by the police forces in the region.

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