In a series of preliminary opinions, an international tribunal of conscience has condemned massive violations of human rights in Mexico. Now wrapping up a four-year process of evidence gathering, members of the Mexican chapter of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) have found grave threats to the environment, food sovereignty, indigenous autonomy, and democratic rights of self-expression and organization of the Mexican people.
A common denominator is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to PPT representatives and collaborators. “Groups and movements participating in the tribunal have documented ways in which NAFTA has been pernicious to Mexico’s social, economic and cultural life,” says Dr. Zulma Mendez, member of the Group for the Articulation of Justice in Ciudad Juarez and a participant in the gender violence and femicide section of the PPT.
According to Mendez,“The unequal relations of power that are present in NAFTA and which help to make it attractive to U.S. interests have been addressed: Transnational corporations that divest communities of a viable future through practices that turn communities into mass production spaces, workers into a pair of arms, and life as disposable…” Mendez noted that this process has often been violent, prompting the Mexican Tribunal hearings under the title “Free Trade, Dirty War, Impunity and the Rights of Peoples.”