Yamin EA. Dignidad y bienestar. El valor de las técnicas y metodologías médicas en la promoción de los derechos humanos: el caso estudio de México. [Dignity and well-being. The value of medical techniques and methodologies in the promotion of human rights: The case study of Mexico.] Cuadernos Médico Sociales (Argentina) [Medico-Social Notebooks (Argentina)] 1998 November; 74:5-23.

Objectives: Analyze health, in order to clarify violations of social and human rights in Mexico and to defend the victims.

Methodology: Descriptive and analytic.

Results: Violation of human rights in Mexico has worsened during recent years, in many cases with fatal results. Medical techniques have proven useful, to clarify facts and to defend victims, as well as to identify social and health risks resulting from poverty.

Health and human rights interact in two general ways. The first pertains to medical techniques applied to documenting civil rights violations; the second involves the use of epidemiological techniques in the defense of basic social and economic rights.

Many cases of torture by governmental security forces have occurred in Mexico since 1968, although authorities have denied these human rights violations. Despite difficulties, independent organizations and legal-medical expertise have contributed when victims have not survived. This work has identified summary executions and has provided evidence that has verified human rights violations and has determined responsibility among police, other government officials, and/or judges.

Medicine and public health further support the defense of human rights by analyzing conditions of poverty and their effects on health. A fifth of the world’s population lives in poverty; Mexico shows the same percentage, especially in rural areas. Through epidemiological studies, researchers can help detect malnutrition and the effects of deprivation on health.

Conclusions: Medical science makes an important contribution in defending the victims of human rights violations. In defense of such rights, medical-legal expertise and epidemiological research assist in clarifying health conditions in the poorest sectors of society.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico