From June 9th to 12th, the online encounter “Latin American Meeting #We Embrace Horizons Facing Disappearances” (#AbramosHorizontes ante las desapariciones) was held, convened by Citizens in Support of Human Rights (CADHAC), Services and Advice for Peace (SERAPAZ) and the Foundation for Due Process. The event set out to “nurture the debate in Mexico on this serious phenomenon that affects so many families and the entire country, as well as glimpse the challenges faced by institutions, academia and civil society to eradicate this practice and give forceful responses.”
It included different tables with panelists: Table 1 “Latin America: from disappearances to responses”; Table 2: “Mexico facing the missing persons crisis”; Table 3: “Experiences from the family movement”, and Table 4 “The Experience of Nuevo Leon”.
The table that generated the most media coverage was the second, with the participation of the Deputy Secretary for Human Rights of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, who has led the government’s human rights agenda since the beginning of the presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO).
The undersecretary affirmed that progress has been made both in the legislative field and in the consolidation of a new institutional scaffolding so that the legislative changes are reflected in facts. However, he acknowledged that multiple challenges remain to reach justice and truth in the problem of disappearances in Mexico (61,000 cases today). He pointed out, among them, impunity and corruption, as well as inertia and resistance in some states of the republic in particular and in their prosecutors when it comes to supporting the tasks of searching for people and identifying bodies exhumed in clandestine graves. This, he affirmed because these players continue in the logic of wanting to minimize or hide the problem. He ratified the will of the federal government to continue with these tasks regardless of that. He acknowledged that, although in Mexico there is a General Law to Prevent and Punish the Forced Disappearance of Persons, to date there is no sentence in the country for a case of disappearance in general. He announced that in the following days he will announce the results of the data update on the matter together with the National Search Commission (CNB).
He also stated that 272,800,000 pesos (of the 341 million programmed) have been channeled to the local search commissions, which will help to have capabilities in equipment and infrastructure, as well as to promote actions for the identification of localized people. Contrary to the information circulated by the CEAV due to the policy of proposed cuts to face the impacts of the pandemic, Encinas guaranteed that there will be no budget cut this year for the work of searching for people and that no program related to human rights will be affected.
During this same event, Santiago Corcuera, former president of the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances, affirmed that the phenomenon of disappearance was on the rise in the six-year term of Felipe Calderon, continued in that of Enrique Peña Nieto, and remains in the current federal government, so a different drug policy is required to prevent them from happening again. For this reason, he questioned the formation of the National Guard as a follow-up to a strategy that has not worked. As for the national registry, he questioned that it is not yet configured; “We have been more than a year and it is still not created, due to the indolence of local authorities that do not report the cases.” Santiago Corcuera also insisted on another pending issue: the recognition of the UN committee to hear cases of torture and disappearances in Mexico.
For more information in Spanish:
Mesa 1 América Latina de las desapariciones a las respuestas (“Encuentro Latinoamericano #AbramosHorizontes ante las Desapariciones”, CADHAC, 9 de junio de 2020)
Mesa 2 México ante la crisis de personas desaparecidas (“Encuentro Latinoamericano #AbramosHorizontes ante las Desapariciones”, CADHAC, 10 de junio de 2020)
Mesa 3 Experiencia desde el movimiento de familias (“Encuentro Latinoamericano #AbramosHorizontes ante las Desapariciones”, CADHAC, 11 de junio de 2020)
Mesa 4 Experiencia de Nuevo León (“Encuentro Latinoamericano #AbramosHorizontes ante las Desapariciones”, CADHAC, 11 de junio de 2020)
Fiscalías renuentes a apoyar en búsqueda de desaparecidos: Encinas (Heraldo, 12 de junio de 2020)
Fiscalías se resisten a apoyar en búsqueda de desaparecidos: Encinas (Excelsior, 10 de junio de 2020)
Encinas acusa resistencias por parte de gobiernos estatales para enfrentar desaparición de personas (El Economista, 10 de junio de 2020)
For more information from SIPAZ:
National: Collectives of Victims of Violence Demand Dismissal of Head of Executive Commission for Attention to Victims (CEAV) and Request Meeting with AMLO (June 11, 2020)