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Mexico to compensate drug-violence victims

Victims and relatives to receive payments and social services from the state under new law signed by president.
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2013 14:35
An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in drug related violence since 2006 [AFP/Getty Images]

Mexican has enacted a law that will ensure that the victims and relatives of crime are compensated with payments and social services from the state.

The law, enacted by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday, comprises the creation of a fund to pay relatives up to $70,000 in compensation for an innocent victim killed in attacks by drug gangs.

“With this law, the Mexican state hopes to give hope and to comfort the victims and their families,” Pena Nieto said about the law which will come into effect in 30 days.

“There are thousands of people who have suffered the ravages of violence.

"A democratic state must listen to all voices, must be sensitive and humane."

The ratification of the law was one of the main demands of civil groups urging the government to do more to help the victims of drug-related violence.

The bill was approved by congress last April, but former President Felipe Calderon filed an appeal with the supreme court to stop it.

Question of law

Pena Nieto announced his willingness to enact the law on December 1, his first day in office, after Calderon's assault on drug cartels during his presidency led to a surge in drug-related violence in the country.

An estimated 70,000 people have been killed in drug related violence in the past six years, with almost 9,000 bodies unidentified.

The law was received with praisel as well as criticism.

“It is a necessary step, meaningful and of full legitimacy, and it is on the path to give Mexican a state policy and effective mechanisms to ensure their rights when faced with excruciating pain and precarious situation,” said Javier Hernandez Valencia, the representative in Mexico of the United Nations High Commission for Human rights.

But Alejandro Marti, a businessman who founded the civil organisation, Mexico SOS after his son was kidnapped and murdered, said that the law is aimed only at victims of federal crimes, leaving out civil society participation and does not provide a definition for who is a victim.

“We know that any law can be improved, but we are concerned that this regulation does not try to meet human rights objectives,” Marti said.

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Source:
Agencies
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