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U.N. rights chief decries U.S. Border Patrol's 'excessive force'

October 18, 2012 |  6:16 pm

Nogales

MEXICO CITY -- The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized U.S. Border Patrol officers Thursday for resorting to “excessive use of force,” according to news reports, a week after a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot by officers after allegedly throwing rocks at them near the Mexican border town of Nogales.

“There have been very many young people, teenagers, who have been killed at the border,” the commissioner, Navi Pillay, said at a news conference in Geneva, according to wire services. “The reports reaching me are that there has been excessive use of force by the U.S. border patrols while they are enforcing the immigration laws.”

U.S. officials allege that the shooting victim, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, was smuggling drugs before the Oct. 10 incident, which has been strongly condemned by the Mexican government.

The FBI is investigating the matter, and the Department of Homeland Security is reviewing its guidelines for the use of force by border agencies.

At least 16 civilians have been killed by border agents since 2010, many of them during rock-throwing incidents involving suspected drug smugglers.

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--Richard Fausset

Photo:  A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle keeps watch along the border fence in Nogales, Ariz, on Aug. 9, 2012.  Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press

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