After the dictatorships and armed conflicts of the latter half of the 20th century, Latin American security has entered a new stage. Politically motivated armed groups are subsiding, while new criminal actors (drug cartels, transnational gangs, and criminal organizations) are flourishing from Mexico to Brazil. The protection of human rights in the fight against crime is adapting to this new reality. In Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and even in the United States, however, there is a worrisome tendency to militarize responses to international crime, sometimes even involving the use of legal tools more proper to armed conflict and international humanitarian law than to traditional police action and crime fighting. This Seminar will explore the human rights challenges posed by this new security situation and seek to offer concrete steps and policy options for Latin American governments to pursue. In particular, the Seminar looks to gather lessons other regions may have learned from similar situations.
TOPICS OF INTEREST
- The lower threshold for the application of international humanitarian law, the classification of a situation as an armed conflict or internal disturbance, and the legal strategies for the fight against organized crime.
- Rules of engagement in situations of urban conflict and war in cities, particularly in counter-terrorism operations and the fight against organized crime, including in cases of armed conflict.
- Understanding new organized criminal organizations in the Americas, including, but not limited to, the Colombian Bacrim, the Shining Path in the Peruvian VRAEM, the Brazilian PCC, Mara Salvatrucha, Los Zetas and other Mexican cartels, etc.
- Militarization of crime-fighting and its consequences, including the application of international humanitarian law in the context of the Americas, both at the national and international levels and its effect in the fight against organized crime.
- Problems caused by the use of private security contractors in the fight against crime or the conduct of hostilities.
- The humanitarian consequences of armed conflict and organized crime on gender equality and vulnerable groups such as persons in situation of mobility, indigenous peoples, etc.
- Ways to promote dissemination of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law in the context of fighting organized crime in Latin America.