The head of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) described the condemnation of dissenting views as “grave” after President López Obrador declared that the organization doesn’t have the “moral authority” to oppose the government’s agenda.
López Obrador yesterday accused the CNDH of “hypocrisy,” charging that it was an “accomplice” to human rights abuses committed by past governments whereas it is now critical of his own.
The president’s attack on the independent organization came after it launched legal action against the National Guard in the Supreme Court, arguing that some of the secondary laws that govern the new security force’s operations are unconstitutional.
Later yesterday, CNDH president Luis Raúl González Pérez said he respected López Obrador before retaliating against the president’s offensive.
“The CNDH is in no way seeking confrontation. Of course, statements such as those spoken by the president surprise me and concern me. I believe that condemning dissidence is grave,” he said, adding that López Obrador is perhaps “seeking to suppress the powers” of the commission.
González said the CNDH was right to file legal action against the National Guard laws because members of the public have sought its “intervention” in the matter via a growing number of complaints.
He said that López Obrador’s claim that the CNDH “remained silent” during the administration of past governments and that “it was an accomplice when the state was the principal violator of human rights” is incorrect, asserting that the commission has always opposed the militarization of public security, a strategy first adopted by former president Felipe Calderón in late 2006.
The CNDH also challenged the constitutionality of policies implemented by previous administrations, González said.
He described the commission as “a healthy counterweight, not a confrontational one,” charging “it’s not an opponent of [government] institutions.”
Instead, “it seeks to contribute” to public debate, González said, adding that different institutions should be able to have “different points of view” without descending into out and out confrontation.
The CNDH chief said that he will seek out the president to discuss their differences but stressed that he will continue to speak out when the human rights of any person are threatened.