Amnesty International Essay

At the time of this report, 51 Mexicans were on death row in the United States, with five others having been executed since the reinstatement of the United States’ death penalty in 1976. Problems in international relations have arisen between Mexico and the United States as the two neighboring countries differ with regard to their stances on the death penalty. While the United States law permits capital punishment, this particular penalty has been abolished in Mexico. The Mexican government has argued that the United States acted unjustly toward these 51 men by neglecting to inform them of their right to seek help from the Mexican consulate—which is guaranteed under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Mexican government appealed to Hague (the International Court of Justice) to put off the executions, which were scheduled for the end of March 2003. Mexico has claimed that efforts at negotiation within the U.S. Justice System have been to no avail; therefore, the International Court of Justice has become their final hope (Hadden, 2003).

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Amnesty International, as an organization that is dedicated to eradicating the death penalty worldwide, would point toward certain actions taken by the United States courts as injustices. One of the first things to be pointed out would be the fact that the Mexicans were not made aware of their right to seek the help of their consulate. Amnesty International would argue that the denial of access to an establishment that would grant governmental aid to these persons constitutes the obstruction of justice. The Mexican consular services granted to these men might have included the ability to gain access to qualified and experienced lawyers, who would have been better able to communicate with the Mexicans and shown more prowess in arguing their cases before the United States courts.

Furthermore, Amnesty International would argue that the death sentence violates the rights of citizens of a country that does not seek to penalize its nationals in the manner dictated by the death penalty. This organization would argue that the sentence undermines the progress that has been made by Mexico in eradicating the cruel and ineffective practice of depriving a human being of life. Since these persons are citizens of Mexico, a country that does not mete out the death penalty, this country’s government should be given the opportunity to punish its nationals in the way that it considers fit. This is especially compounded by the fact that they consider Mexicans’ chances of receiving a fair trial within the United States very minimal. This they would attribute to the fact that language barriers often force them to seek legal representation from lawyers who are less than qualified to take on cases of such magnitude that would attract the death penalty.

Amnesty International would also argue that the United States’ actions are an indication of bad faith. The organization would carry out a comparison both of U.S. decisions to deny the Mexicans their right to access their consulate and to actually confer the death penalty upon the men. They would then describe these actions as stemming from a fundamentally flawed system that seeks out its own ends at the expense of others. The ability to carry out such heinous acts in the name of justice, they would say, fits well with the U.S. 51 counts of violating the International Vienna Convention Treaty which they themselves signed. This whole situation would represent to Amnesty International a display on the part of the United States’ of disrespect for international authority and a complete disregard for the possibilities inherent in any human life.


Hadden, G. (2003). “Mexicans on death row.” National Public Radio. Washington D.C.: NPR.             Retrieved on February 28, 2007 from 

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