Mexico blasts study labeling it second deadliest conflict zone behind Syria
The Mexican government is speaking out against a newly released study labeling the country the second deadliest on Earth. The report released earlier this week by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said that drug-related violence in Mexico has caused the death toll to surpass both Iraq and Afghanistan.
About 23,000 people were killed in Mexico in 2016 as the battles among drug cartels raged on. Around 17,000 were killed in Afghanistan and 16,000 in Iraq during the same time frame.
Syria – which has seen around 290,000 people killed since the start of a civil war there in 2011 – was ranked first with some 50,000 deaths during 2016.
The Mexican government said the IISS report “uses figures whose origin is unknown, draws estimates based on uncertain methodologies and applies legal terms in a wrong way,” so its conclusions have no merit in the case of Mexico.
“The report is treating nations with completely different situations, which are neither comparable nor measurable against each other, in a similar fashion,” Mexico’s Foreign and Interior Ministries said in a joint statement.
The statement went on to claim that all murders in the country are not linked to turf wars between drug cartels.
“The study’s assumption that all the killings that took place in Mexico were related to the fight against criminal organizations is far-fetched,” they said.
They added the report is inaccurate because the data provided by the Mexican Statistics Office include cases of fighting deaths, white-arms deaths, deaths associated with the commission of common-law crimes.
But the Mexican homicide rate is low when compared to other countries in the area like Brazil and Venezuela, they said.
The presence of Mexican criminal groups and the use of armed forces against them doesn’t constitute a need to discuss a non-international armed conflict in the country, they said.
A link to an article discussing the IISS report was retweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
A top Mexican government official later told the Wall Street Journal that the report had caused anger in the Mexican government and that its findings provided “false arguments” for Trump to use against the country.