Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
"Mexico is safer than the United States," Lopez Obrador said. Reuters

Andres Manuel López Obrador, the president of Mexico, on Tuesday, adamantly denied criticism of his country's human rights record, describing allegations of official abuses contained in a recent U.S. State Department study as "lies."

According to the report released on Monday, there have been reliable claims of unjustified or arbitrary killings in Mexico by police, military, and other government officials. There are also claims of forced disappearances by government agents along with torture, and other cruel treatment by security services.

"Impunity and extremely low rates of prosecution remained a problem for all crimes, including human rights abuses and corruption," the report stated. It also criticized violence against journalists in Mexico, Reuters reported.

Asked about the report at a news conference, Lopez Obrador dismissed it, saying, "they're lying," and noted the U.S. "believes it's the government of the world."

"It's not worth getting angry about, that's just how they are," said Lopez Obrador, who is due to meet with former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Mexico later on Tuesday. The report "is not true, they're liars."

At a news conference, acting spokesperson for the State Department Vedant Patel refuted claims that Washington was behaving like "the government of the world" and reiterated the findings of the human rights report.

"As it relates to Mexico, the reported involvement of members of Mexican police, military and other government institutions in serious acts of corruption and unlawful arbitrary killings remain a serious challenge for Mexico and that's why they were highlighted in our report," he said.

After the kidnapping of four American citizens in northern Mexico earlier this month, Lopez Obrador has fought back against recent U.S. criticism of his security record, which has been under greater scrutiny. Two of them were later found dead.

The Mexican president, who claims to be eliminating corruption and impunity in Mexico, has argued his country is safer than the U.S., despite a much higher murder rate, and criticized U.S. efforts to prevent dangerous drugs from entering the United States.

"Mexico is safer than the United States," Lopez Obrador said. "There's no problem with traveling safely around Mexico."

At 28 per 100,000 people, Mexico's murder rate was around four times higher than in the United States in 2020, according to data published by the World Bank.

Homicides fell about 7% last year in Mexico, but the current government is on track to register a record total for any six-year administration.

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