On 21 March, in response to the visit by the UN Work Group on forced disappearances from 18 to 31 March, member-organizations of the National Campaign against Forced Disappearance presented a brief report regarding the situation of persons disappeared forcibly or involuntarily. The report is divided into four parts: “1. The normative Mexican status of the forced disappearance of persons: urgency to harmonize the situation with international standards; 2. The historical context of forced disappearance in Mexico: the need for a clear recognition by the State regarding past crimes; 3. The present context of forced disappearance in Mexico: the need to investigate cases of disappearance; 4. The paradigmatic case of Mr. Rosendo Radilla and the status of the sentence handed down by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights on this subject.”
Before the beginning of its official mission, the Work Group celebrated its 93rd session in Mexico City where it examined more than 190 cases of disappearances in more than 25 countries. The official visit by the Work Group, which began on 18 March and will end on the 31st, has the goal of interviewing family-members of victims of forced disappearance, non-governmental organizations, and federal government officials, as well as of identifying the strengths of the country with regard to the management of this problem. The organization will examine the investigations that have been had regarding cases of forced disappearances both past and recent as well as the measures that have been taken against impunity, in addition to other subjects, including those related to historical truth, justice, and reparations for victims of forced disappearances.
Civil organizations have pointed up the lack of will on the part of the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) to dedicate adequate time to the question, as noted in the change in time with the Court’s meeting with the Work Group, going from an hour and a half to 20 minutes. The affair is alarming given that the SCJN indefinitely postponed its position regarding the resolution made by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in the case of Rosendo Radilla (disappeared in 1974 at a military checkpoint in Atoyác, Guerrero) which demanded that the judiciary give courses to its judges and magistrates regarding the crime of forced disappearance before December 2010. In the end, though, it seems that the “scheduling problems” were resolved.
The Work Group has also met with senators from the commissions of Constitutional Law and Justice, to whom it stressed the necessity of having a specific law and expressed its alarm on the project to reform the military courts, especially as it considers such proposals to be incomplete. This meeting was a private one lasting more than 2 hours. The president of the Senate Commission of Human Rights, Rosario Ibarra, stated that the number of forced disappearance has increased “scandalously” during the government of Felipe Calderón, given that, even in light of the fact that relatives fear presenting denunciations, there are an estimated three thousand new such cases.
In other news, the director of the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), Raúl Plascencia Villanueva, also met with members of the Work Group, with whom he shared a report that refers to 240 cases of this crime in Mexico. Who it was that was disappeared remained unclear from the report.
The Work Group will visit Atoyac, Guerrero, where, according to information released by the Association of Relative of the Detained and Disappeared in Mexico, over 500 forced disappearances were registered during the epoch of the “dirty war” in the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s. The Workshop for Communal Development (TADECO), headquartered in Chilpancingo, demanded that the government of Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo reopen the files of 28 cases of forced disappearance during his administration (2005-2011) and warned that the Guerrero State Attorney General’s Office seeks to link it to organized crime.
At the close of the visit, on 31 March, the Work Group will hold a press conference in Mexico City. A final report regarding the visit will presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2012.
For more information (in Spanish):
Necesaria, una ley específica contra la desaparición forzada: misión de la ONU (La Jornada, 24 March)
Entrega CNDH informe con 240 casos de retenciones ilegales de personas (La Jornada, 24 March)
Falta protección contra la desaparición forzada en México: Informe a la ONU (CENCOS, 22 March)
Se disparan casos de tortura en México, informan a grupo de trabajo de la ONU (La Jornada, 22 March)
Recibirán Juan N. Silva y 5 ministros más a la misión de Naciones Unidas (La Jornada, 22 March)
Relega la Corte visita de grupo de la ONU sobre desapariciones forzada s(La Jornada, 16 March)
Demandan reabrir pesquisas sobre 28 desapariciones forzadas en Guerrero (La Jornada, 15 March)
La ONU investigará las desapariciones ocurridas en México en la guerra sucia (La Jornada, 15 March)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Guerrero – Briefs: Prodh Center sends amicus curiae in the case of Radio Nomndaa; Union of Peoples and Social Organizations mobilizes to demand preferential rates for electricity; “1,289 murders, 289 disappeared and 25 kidnapped in 4 years”: TADECO (27 March)