Muñoz, Alejandro Anaya. “Transnational and Domestic Processes in the Definition of Human Rights Policies in Mexico.” Human Rights Quarterly 31, no. 1 (2009): 35-58.

Muñoz’s article raises an important question as to whether human rights in Mexico have only been implemented for bureaucracies’ sake or for the good of its own people. Mexico initially was not interested in matters of human rights but would come to implement them rather late in the 1990’s under President Carlos Salinas’ regime, thus enacting an explicit human rights policy through the invention of CDNH or the National Commission of Human Rights. Unfortunately, this was more or less a front to make the Mexican government appear accountable in response to the international outcries and pressure. Once again they would come to show their true nature when methods of counter-insurgency and subsequent human rights violations occurred during and after the Chiapas Rebellion. Using International relations literature frameworks, “The Boomerang Spiral Model” and “Locking-In Argument”, Muñoz alludes to the assumption that domestic/transnational entities and processes drive human rights policies; thus how the Mexican government has emerged with new methods as to how to implement human rights. The article concludes with what I found to be a rather alarming proposition, which I took to mean that Mexico has responded to implementing human rights for the sole fact that there has been a transnational outcry and domestic politics at play and not because they actually care for human rights and or their people. 

This article’s strengths lie within its use of analyzation through international relations literature frameworks as well as in its observation of the 1990’s period when the Mexican Government was pressured into issuing a rather useless human rights policy. Representation-wise I like its research based format since it is harder to contest such an article and thus can be used as a good source for such a thing as a dossier case.

It is useful because it makes the reader aware of just how willing certain governments are when it comes to human rights. While it is alarming to learn about the unwillingness and backwardness of certain countries we are nonetheless able to observe just how fast they react to international and domestic pressure. This case study in a sense more or less can remind us of what is occurring in regards to humans rights on the daily in Mexico. While much outcry has been made and human rights policies and agencies have continued to relentlessly work at the issue at hand it is apparent that the problem lies within the unwillingness and lack of cooperation of the Mexican government. Muñoz’s article lets us reflect on what is happening today with the numerous drug cartel related assassinations, murders, mass murders, etc. in Mexico and how the government only plays their bureaucratic games as a way to disappear their shameless catering to human rights violations.

Tags: human rights, Mexico, policy, reforms, transnational, international relations, politics, government, violations

Caption: Protestors in Mexico as a consequence of the Ayotzinapa 43. (Courtesy: Al-Jazeera America)

I found this image to be appropriate when it comes to Muñoz’s article due to the power it conveys. A sole man with a fired torch and many more behind him at a protest in response to the Ayotzinapa 43 is severely relevant of the many human rights atrocities that are being committed in Mexico and being subsequently ignored by the Mexican government itself. Such tragic events have led to the awakening of the people, in particular many students such as ourselves. The rampart discontent of the people who are affected directly or indirectly by such barbaric violations of humanity have created such an outcry to the point were one would imagine that policy would come into place and force change. While Muñoz talks about how international and domestic politics affect change in human rights policies and reforms one is left with images like these and with the question of whether international and domestic pressure is effective enough to create truly lasting change at the end of the day.

by Carla Apodaca

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