Constructive Dialogue and Recognition
The United Nations Committee against Forced Disappearances has recently released its concluding observations concerning Mexico’s efforts to address forced disappearances within its borders. These observations come after Mexico submitted complementary information as required by Article 29, paragraph 4, of the Convention.
In their assessment, the Committee acknowledged Mexico’s commitment to constructive dialogue and welcomed the strides taken by various stakeholders since their last report on the nation’s status in November 2021.
Notable Progress and References
The Committee’s document highlights numerous references to progress within Mexico’s efforts to combat forced disappearances. Noteworthy among these advancements are:
- The Special Declaration of Absence due to Disappearance.
- The establishment of the National Forensic Data Bank.
- The implementation of the National Search Program for Missing and Unlocated Persons.
- The substantial increase in budget allocation and personnel for the National Search Commission.
- The adoption of an Investigation Protocol.
- The existence of specialized prosecutor’s offices or investigation units for disappearances across all federal entities.
- The jurisprudential criteria from the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation recognize the rights of missing persons to be searched.
Coordination and Verification Process
Efforts to enhance information within the National Registry of Missing and Non-Located Persons involve close coordination between the National Search Commission, local commissions, and prosecutor’s offices.
Moreover, this collaborative process aligns seamlessly with the provisions of the Approved Search Protocol. Additionally, various institutions provide support as auxiliary authorities in the search for individuals.
Multifaceted Response and Planning
During discussions with the Committee, it was reported that the Ministry of the Interior has implemented a comprehensive system to address urgent actions. This approach extends beyond mere information requests and includes collaborative workgroups involving family members, public ministry agents, search commissions (both local and national), and victim care commissions.
Protection mechanisms and human rights commissions are also engaged when necessary to jointly determine courses of action and define search and investigation plans.
Protecting Human Rights Defenders and Journalists
Mexico’s Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists establishes the authorities forming the Governing Board of the Federal Protection Mechanism, which specializes in addressing the needs of these two vulnerable groups. Additionally, there are mechanisms at the local level to ensure victims receive necessary attention through the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims and its local counterparts.
Effective Coordination and Prosecutor Involvement
Effective coordination mechanisms have played a crucial role in search actions, with a significant portion involving the participation of State Prosecutor’s Offices (45%), the Federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) (22%), or both (9%).
Only 24% of actions occur without the collaboration of any prosecutor’s office, often related to prospecting activities before formal search efforts. In all search actions, the involvement of a prosecutor’s office is vital, considering the potential discovery of vital clues.
Addressing the Forensic Crisis
Regarding the concerns raised in the Forensic Crisis section, it’s essential to reiterate the steps taken in response. These include the establishment of a Regional Human Identification Center in Saltillo, Coahuila, as well as three Centers for Temporary Safeguarding of Bodies in Tamaulipas and Jalisco.
Furthermore, they have established a Center for Temporary Shelter in Culiacán, Sinaloa, with 15 more centers or units under construction across the nation.
Commitment to Collaboration and Families
The Mexican Government acknowledges the Committee’s observations, and furthermore, it reiterates its commitment to collaborating with international human rights organizations to bolster actions aimed at preventing and addressing cases of disappearance within the country.
In closing, Mexico reaffirms its dedication to the families of missing persons and its commitment to international scrutiny.