Mexico City. Condemning the death of the girl Heidi Mariana Pérez Rodríguez, by a gunshot allegedly as a result of the use of lethal force by elements of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-DH) pointed out that the case ratifies “the announced risk that military participation in citizen security tasks entails.”
Likewise, “the importance of strengthening and implementing civilian controls over the Armed Forces,” and that consolidating their participation “in civilian functions that are inappropriate for them, weakens democracy and is contrary to international human rights standards.”
Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado, representative in Mexico of the UN-DH, urged the authorities to initiate an independent civil investigation, “prompt and diligent, that incorporates international human rights standards, with full respect for the best interests of children, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child”. The investigation, he said, “must identify those directly responsible for the death of Heidi Mariana -four years old-, as well as the responsibilities in the chain of command.”
He insisted that the use of lethal force deployed in this case “is contrary to international human rights standards.”
In a statement, the UN-DH stated that according to information received, the death of Heidi Mariana would have been caused by the action of Sedena personnel in the Victoria neighborhood of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. “It would have been the result of the impact of at least one firearm projectile.” The minor was in the company of a relative, who would also have been injured, and her seven-year-old brother.
The UN-DH urged Sedena to comply with taking all necessary measures to cooperate with the civil authorities, deliver without delay the relevant information to clarify the case, ensure that its personnel collaborate with said authorities, as well as to identify and eradicate all internal institutional practice that allows, facilitates or does not prevent the repetition of this type of cases.
He recalled that since 1999, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its “concern over the threat to the right to life of children caused by the degree of militarization” in the country. Likewise, in 2015 it asked the Mexican State to review the strategy to fight organized crime, so that children are protected from violence, as well as to effectively implement protocols for the protection of the rights of children during federal operations. against criminal groups, carried out by the Army and the security forces.