“The impunity during the dirty war in the 1970s in Mexico set the conditions for today’s disappearances. If something had been done before, this would not be happening today.” These were the words of Yanett Bautista, member of the Foundation Nadia Erika Bautista from Colombia. She discussed how the families of the disappeared have driven the process of justice in Colombia. Families are the one searching for their relatives and presenting law initiatives to Congress. Examples of these are the law recognizing enforced disappearances as a crime and the homage law. The latter involves the obligation of the state to create a Genetic Database of Unidentified Bodies and treat human remains according to international standards.
Federica Riccardi from Red Cross International expressed that search protocols need to have an open approach in terms of the kind of evidence that is included into the investigations such as photos, study of circumstances and witnesses’ testimonies. These protocols have to be elaborated with the collaboration of the victims’ families.
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On June 5th, 2013, United Forces of Our Disappeared in Coahuila and Mexico (FUUNDEC/FUNDEM) organized a three day international event on Enforced Disappearances in Mexico in the city of Saltillo, capital of the state of Coahuila. This is the first event of its kind in Mexico because it brings together the relatives of the disappeared, local and federal state authorities and national and international experts on the issue. The event began with the words of one of the members of FUUNDEC/FUNDEM, Lourdes Herrera. She is the mother of Brandon Esteban, who is 8 year-old boy that was disappeared in August 2009. “I represent all families of the disappeared, …We hope that the outcome of these three days of work go beyond words to reach real commitments from all stakeholders in order to address our legitimate demands: the immediate search of our relatives and the right to justice and truth.” After her participation, all families claimed: “Our relatives were taken away from us alive, we want them back alive!”
Following the opening speech from Lourdes Herrera, Reinar Huhle, member of UN Committee against Enforced Disappearance mentioned in his keynote that enforced disappearances have become generalized phenomena. It is not only found in military dictatorships but also in democracies such as Colombia and Mexico. In the latter contexts, enforced disappearances become more complex given the involvement of both state and non-state actors.
The second keynote speaker was Roberto Garretón. He is an expert on enforced disappearance from Chile. He discussed how the state is always involved in any human rights violation. In the case of enforced disappearance, this includes not only the direct intervention of state actors but also their negligence and distortion of information. He focused on the Chilean experience. According to Garretón, the work of human rights defenders should be the search for the truth through interdisciplinary research and the recording of all cases of disappearance. He also mentioned how Mexico has not received any solidarity from Chile and Argentina in this human security crisis, even though Mexico opened its doors to refugees during military dictatorships and supported those Chileans and Argentineans who were fighting against enforced disappearances in their countries.
mnesty International has said the Mexican government is not doing enough to investigate the disappearances of thousands of people.
“Disappearances in Mexico have become commonplace because federal and state authorities have tolerated and refused to clamp down on them,” Amnesty says in a new report.
Official figures say 26,000 people have gone missing since December 2006.
The date coincides with the deployment of the army to fight drug cartels.
Critics of the war-on-drugs policy of former President Felipe Calderon say police brought about an escalation in violence.
“These figures demonstrate one of the key human rights challenges facing the government of Enrique Pena Nieto,” said Rupert Knox, Amnesty International researcher on Mexico.
“Ending the crisis of disappearances, locating the victims and holding those responsible to account – regardless of whether they are criminals or public officials.”
For full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22775574