The Supreme Court has offered to provide legal assistance to the consuls from 14 Latin American countries who need support to defend citizens imprisoned in Mexico, Chief Justice Juan Silva Meza said.

The offer was made during a meeting on Friday with the consuls from Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Panama, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay and Honduras, Silva Meza said in a statement.

The meeting was held "with the objective of establishing a legal assistance mechanism that will allow them to assist their nationals who are held in the country's prisons," the chief justice said.

International treaties and recent constitutional reforms require "all Mexican authorities to respect human rights and people should know that no one can violate their rights with impunity," Silva Meza said.

The diplomats complained that sometimes they were not notified in a timely fashion of the arrest and imprisonment of nationals, or of transfers to other prisons, making it difficult to provide assistance, the chief justice said.

The Federal Public Defender's Institute, which is under the Supreme Court, has been instructed to create "a legal assistance and orientation mechanism for the consular corps due to the fact that the vast majority of foreigners are defended by this institution," Silva Meza said.

About 450 foreigners are being defended by the institute's attorneys, with about 82 percent of the defendants from Latin America, official figures show. EFE