Human Rights Group: Almost 80% of Indigenous Mexicans Live in Poverty
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December 26, 2013

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, or National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), has revealed in a statement that just under 80% of Mexico’s indigenous peoples live in poverty.

According to the CNDH, “79.6% of the indigenous-language-speaking population, approximately 5.4 million people, live in poverty. Of those, 3 million live in extreme poverty.”

Indeed, Mexican states that have the highest concentrations of indigenous peoples like Yucatán, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo, Puebla, and Veracruz have the highest poverty rates among the 32 entities (31 states, 1 Federal District).

State of health, social security, education, employment and access to acceptable housing are the main factors that lead to poverty and extreme poverty. In addition, the commission says, these factors and subsequent conditions lead to a much higher risk for Mexico’s indigenous people to have their human rights violated.

Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, appointed President of the CNDH by the Mexican Senate in 2009, says that the Mexican government and Mexican society as a whole has a “large, outstanding debt to pay” in regards to respecting the human rights of indigenous peoples and enabling them to integrate into society in a beneficial way.

“It is absolutely unacceptable,” he said, “that the rampant marginalization, inequality, and lack of opportunity afforded to the indigenous practically stop the development of the nearly 16 million people who make up a large and important part of our country.”

Plascencia Villanueva recommended that Mexicans “promote understanding, respect, and respect of human rights to everyone that makes up a part of the 62-plus indigenous groups in our nation in order to construct roads that lead to some sort of solution to this problem.”

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