Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) announced Saturday it will legally challenge the controversial Security Law signed by President Enrique Peña Nieto the day before, saying it could ask that the measure to be ruled unconstitutional.
The law legalizes, among other provisions, the president’s ability as commander in chief to order the military to perform police duties, such as conducting raids and arresting civilians.
The executive would not be required to disclose information regarding these deployments meant to “combat organized crime and terrorism” or anything else that threatens “national security.” The state can also “suspend human rights” if “society is in serious danger or conflict.”
The new law could lead to the “violation of Mexicans’ basic rights and freedoms, affect the design and constitutionally established balance between institutions, state organs and powers, and lead to states of emergency being imposed on Mexican society,” the CNDH said in a statement.
Multiple human rights groups and international organizations, including the United Nations, attacked the bill, mindful of the dozens of reported cases of abuses by members of the military in Mexico over the past 11 years. They say it could usher in greater abuses and impunity by the armed forces.
The CNDH said it has asked Peña Nieto to make the necessary changes to the bill to make sure it upholds human and civil rights.
Peña Nieto signed the bill Thursday afternoon and sent it to the Supreme Court for review in a bid to ease the discontent among human rights organizations.
“I will not issue an internal security declaration in the terms of this law until the highest court has decided on its constitutionality,” stated Peña Nieto as the law was published in the government’s official gazette.