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Monday, May 15, 2017

Armed Conflict Survey 'Conclusions about Mexico are Unfounded'

Secretariat of Foreign Affairs

The Armed Conflict Survey 2017 (ACS), published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), uses statistics from unknown sources, includes evaluations based on uncertain methodologies, and applies legal terms incorrectly. Its conclusions about Mexico are unfounded.

The report irresponsibly points to the existence of a "(non-international) armed conflict" in Mexico. This is incorrect. Neither the existence of criminal groups nor the use of the Armed Forces to maintain order in the interior of the country are sufficient reason to speak of a non-international armed conflict. Here, the report is treating similarly nations with completely different situations, which are neither comparable nor measurable against each other.

Violence related to organized crime is a regional reality that goes beyond the borders Mexico shares with the United States, Guatemala, and Belize, among many other countries. The challenges Mexico faces in this area cannot be seen in isolation from related challenges in other jurisdictions, such as arms trafficking and the demand for drugs. The fight against transnational organized crime must be analyzed in a comprehensive fashion.

INEGI has not yet published the total of intentional homicides nationwide in 2016, so the source of the statistic used in the report is unknown. The study's assumption that all homicides in Mexico are "related to the fight against the criminal organizations" is also unsubstantiated, because statistics on intentional homicide, such as those of the INEGI, include deaths from brawls and stabbings, deaths associated with other types of crimes, including neighborhood and community conflicts, among others. Therefore, the report is based on faulty assumptions and lacks statistical rigor.

The authors' country ranking based on their homicide estimates lacks any methodological rigor. Using the correct statistics, it would be appropriate to make percentage comparisons in order to take into account the different populations of the various countries.  According to UN figures for 2014 (the most recent international report), Mexico is far from being one of the most violent countries in the world. In Latin America alone, countries such as Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, Colombia or Brazil had homicide rates of 90.4, 53.7, 44.7, 30.8 and 25.2, respectively, per 100,000 inhabitants, while Mexico had a rate of 16.4, well below many of the countries in the region.

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Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) blog, May. 10, 2017; translation SRE

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