Mexico: Implement UN recommendations on enforced disappearances

20.02.2015

Mexico should accept and implement a series of recommendations made by the UN to end enforced disappearances and guarantee the security of human rights defenders working on cases of enforced disappearance, said ISHR, Peace Brigades International and the World Organisation Against Torture today.

(Geneva) - A group of international NGOs has called on Mexico to implement recommendations on enforced disappearances and guarantee the security of activists working on these issues. According to official figures, more than 22,000 people have been reported as ‘disappeared’ or ‘missing’ with a recurrence of incidents similar to the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, in September 2014.

The statement, signed by the International Service of Human RightsPeace Brigades International and the World Organisation Against Torture, insisted on the urgency of enacting a General Law on Enforced Disappearance, with the participation of victims, civil society and the National Human Rights Commission. The same statement urged the Mexican authorities to continue cooperating with the Committee of Enforced Disappearance (CED), pursuant to Article 29 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It also supported the recommendation that the government should create a national registry for disappeared persons, as well as a specialised unit with the General Attorney Office to conduct thorough investigations.

Activists working on enforced disappearances face continual risk, especially in the form of defamation and harrasment by the security forces. ISHR’s Ben Leather expressed concerns over Mexico’s initial response to the recommendations, saying that ‘Mexico has ratified the Convention on Enforced Disappearance which clearly legitimises the Committee's role in making objective recommendations to States, such as the well-qualified ones outlines in their recent report. Therefore we hope that the Mexican authorities will begin to respond to the issues raised by the Committee, rather than questioning its thoroughness. This discrediting of the CED accompanies a backdrop of impunity, with an almost total lack of convictions vis-à-vis the large amount of cases reported. There have also been reports of ‘persistent threats’ made to both the families of victims and human rights defenders working in this field, which indicates a clamping down on those willing to speak out.

The NGO statement concluded with a call for Mexico to continue searching for the 43 missing students, as well as to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible, in collaboration with the CED and unhindered access for civil society organisations. It called for an end to reprisals, particularly against the relatives of the disappeared students and their legal representatives, but also the human rights defenders and their supporting organisations.

Both the English version and the Spanish version of the statement are available to read online.

For more information please contact ISHR's Ben Leather on +41 22 919 71 00 or b.leather@ishr.ch

Category:

Region
  • Latin America and Caribbean
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
  • Reprisals and intimidation
Mechanism
  • Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)
Country
  • Mexico