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Amnesty International calls on Mexico to sign anti-poverty treaty

posted 29 Aug 2012, 13:07 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 29 Aug 2012, 13:08 ]

Amnesty International criticizes Mexico's quick signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and calls on Mexico's government to be more willing to sign international agreements aimed at combating poverty.

Amnesty International activists rallied outside Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday (August 29) to call on Mexico's government to be more willing to sign accords aimed at combating poverty and criticize their quick signing of a global agreement against copyright theft.
The protesters hung several large dolls made of cardboard and paper near the Secretariat's headquarters, representing government and business officials and members of Mexican society. One doll, representing a businessman, held a sign with the word "ACTA", which stands the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

ACTA was signed by Mexico's ambassador to Japan, Claude Heller, in July, despite the country's Senate having previously voted against participation in the treaty. The original signatories signed the ACTA agreement in October 2011, only nine months before Mexico.

On the other hand, Mexico has so far been unwilling to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which was first opened for signatures at the UN in September 2009. The treaty is aimed at establishing complaint protocols and inquiry mechanisms for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN in 1966.

Daniel Zapico, a campaign co-ordinator for Amnesty International, said that the Mexican government's signing of the ACTA agreement could have an adverse effect on human rights in the country.

"We are asking ourselves what the priorities of the Mexican government are, when they take years to sign accords against poverty, and then in a very short time signs agreements of a commercial nature. These can have a negative effect on human rights, and, as is happening with ACTA, that they can violate human rights, the right to concrete expression on the internet," he said.

One of the aims of the agreement was to stem the growing tide of illegal downloads and streaming of illegal copies of films and music online. It also calls on signatories to seize fake goods and punish gangs making and selling them. Opponents of ACTA say that the agreement could potentially curb their freedom and allow officials to spy on their online activities.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International activists collected over 9,000 signatures urging the Mexican government to give more priority to accords aimed at reducing poverty levels and place less of an emphasis on commercial accords that benefit corporations and interest groups.