UN rights urges probes into Mexico journalist killings

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The UN human rights office on Friday urged Mexican authorities to launch impartial probes into the recent brutal killings of journalists in apparent retaliation for reporting crime by drug cartels.

The violence illustrates "increasing insecurity in general and the exceptionally vulnerable situation of journalists in particular," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Around 10 journalists have been killed this year in Mexico, according to different media watchdogs, alongside eruptions of violence amid a military crackdown on drug gangs that started in 2006.

The most recent victim was Maria Elizabeth Macias, who was beheaded.

Beside her decapitated and mutilated body, a note allegedly signed by the Zetas drug cartel said she had been murdered in retaliation for her internet postings which were critical of violent groups.

"The scale of the killings is quite horrendous and the nature of them," said Colville, pointing to "the fact that they are killing women left, right and centre."

"We understand the challenge the Mexican government is facing in its fight against rising violence," said the spokesman.

"However, we are also extremely concerned at the prevalent impunity regarding these killings, and the many other similar crimes committed in recent years," he added.

"We urge the Mexican authorities to launch immediate full and impartial investigations into these events," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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