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COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES HOLDS FOLLOW-UP DIALOGUE WITH MEXICO

9 November 2018

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances today concluded its follow-up dialogue with Mexico on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 

Presenting the report, Miguel Ruíz Cabañas, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said that the disappearance of persons was one of the most important human rights challenges faced by Mexico, which was why the Government had passed the General Act on Enforced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Perpetrated by Individuals and the National Search System in January 2018.  The problem of enforced disappearances was of a complex nature due to the federal organization of the country, and the presence of organized crime.  The General Act met the highest international standards, with a strongly victim-oriented approach.  Enforced disappearance was defined by the General Act as a standalone crime not subject to the statute of limitation, in line with the Convention, which could lead to a sentence ranging from 40 to 60 years of imprisonment.  Enforced disappearances required a holistic attention and immediate reaction of State institutions, as well as close cooperation with victims’ associations.

Sara Irene Herrerias Guerra, Assistant Attorney General for Human Rights, Crime Prevention and Community Services of Mexico, underscored that the priority of all public servants was to provide care to victims of disappearance.  Accordingly, the Government had set up the National Search Commission and the National Search System, bringing together the authorities of all 32 federal entities in the country.  The National Search Commission had begun its work by coordinating with all relevant institutions and by ensuring that relevant authorities cooperated with it.  It was currently drafting a harmonized search protocol and data collection for the National Register on Disappeared Persons.  Another new institution that was established was the National Council of Citizens, which brought together family members, victims’ associations, and experts. 

In the ensuing discussion, the Committee Experts inquired whether Mexico would recognize the Committee’s competence in receiving individual and inter-State communications once it had set up the appropriate legal framework for dealing with enforced disappearance.  They also wondered about the measures adopted to ensure that State officials understood the binding nature of the Convention and the Committee’s urgent actions, earmarked budgetary lines to enable sustainable operations of the national mechanisms on enforced disappearances, and the incorporation of a gender perspective into their work.  Other issues raised included the plan to establish national search commissions across all federal entities, the correct number of disappeared persons, the functioning of the National Forensic Data Bank, the harmonization of laws across federal entities, the harmonized protocol for the investigation of enforced disappearances, the number of ongoing and archived investigations of disappearances, reform of the military justice system, training for special prosecutors, disappeared women and migrants, the collection of genetic data of the missing persons’ families, reparation, support and care for victims, second inquiry into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, and the safety of persons lodging urgent actions with the Committee. 
 
In concluding remarks, Maria Clara Galvis Patino, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, welcomed the useful and cordial dialogue with the delegation.  She underlined the importance of victims’ participation in the entire process of search and investigation of enforced disappearances, and of improving the forensic side of the process. 

Horacio Ravenna, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, expressed solidarity with the victims when dictatorship reigned in Latin America and hoped that the dialogue with the Committee would be beneficial for the Mexican people. 

Mr. Ruiz Cabanas thanked the Committee Experts for their interest in Mexico, stressing that Mexico did not have a State policy of disappearance.  Notwithstanding the involvement of State agents in disappearances, a huge number of disappearances had been organized and committed by organized criminal gangs. 

Suela Janina, Committee Chairperson, thanked Mexico for sending a well prepared delegation.  The Committee monitored the implementation of the Convention and it was up to the State party to fulfil its obligations.  The positive legislative steps should be translated into full and effective implementation. 

The delegation of Mexico included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of National Defense, and the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations Office at Geneva. 


The Committee will next meet in public on Tuesday, 12 November, at 10 a.m. to hold a meeting with States parties, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations, national human institutions, and civil society.


Report

Mexico’s follow-up report to the Committee’s concluding observations on its initial report can be read here: CED/C/MEX/CO/1/Add.2.

Opening Statement

SUELA JANINA, Committee Chairperson, reminded that the Committee had considered Mexico’s initial report in 2015 and it had then asked the State party to submit up-to-date information by February 2018 on the implementation of all the recommendations of the Committee, together with any new information about the fulfillment of the obligations under the Convention.  Ms. Janina further recalled that in June 2018 the Committee had decided to invited Mexico to take part in the follow-up dialogue, a new procedure to consider additional information.

Presentation of the Follow-up Report

MIGUEL RUÍZ CABAÑAS, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, underlined the Mexican Government’s commitment to the Committee’s mandate and readiness to continue implementing the Committee’s recommendations in order to tackle enforced disappearances.  He added that the authorities were aware of the suffering of victims’ families and that they fully respected the pain of victims.  They were ready to find out about the whereabouts of disappeared persons and to support their families and relatives.  The disappearance of persons was one of the most important human rights challenges faced by Mexico, which was why the Government had passed the General Act on Enforced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Perpetrated by Individuals and the National Search System in January 2018.  It was an ongoing process to properly establish, staff and finance the institutions envisaged in that law. 

The Undersecretary stressed that the problem of enforced disappearances in Mexico was of a complex nature due to the federal organization of the country, and the presence of organized crime.  About 95 per cent of crimes and human rights violations fell under local jurisdiction.  The phenomenon of enforced disappearances occurred more often in certain states of the federation than in others, posing considerable coordination problems and calling for the implementation of harmonized operation protocols binding for both provincial and federal authorities.  The situation was further complicated by the fact that Mexico had a large border with the largest drug consuming market in the world – the United States – and by the large-scale selling and trafficking of assault weapons in the border region with the United States, mostly from Arizona and Texas, into Mexico.  As a result, criminal organizations had become embedded in the Mexican social fabric.  The Mexican Government was fully aware of the need for a holistic approach to the problem of enforced disappearances, including the eradication of impunity.

The Undersecretary highlighted that the General Act on Enforced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Perpetrated by Individuals and the National Search System had been drafted with the participation of civil society and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The Committee’s recommendations had been taken very seriously into consideration, as well as the opinions of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.  The law met the highest international standards, with a strongly victim-oriented approach.  Enforced disappearance was defined by the General Act as a standalone crime not subject to the statute of limitation, in line with the Convention, which could lead to a sentence ranging from 40 to 60 years of imprisonment.  The Government had established the National Search Commission to make investigation into enforced disappearances more effective, as well as the National Register for Missing and Disappeared Persons, and the National Register of Graves.  Enforced disappearances required holistic attention and immediate reaction of State institutions, as well as close cooperation with victims’ associations. 

The Mexican State had considered the possibility of recognizing the Committee’s competence to receive individual complaints, but it had decided to give priority to strengthening its own institutional capacity and legal framework to address and resolve cases of enforced disappearance.  The Undersecretary reiterated the Government’s commitment to address such cases in the provinces where enforced disappearances were frequent due to organized crime.  The Mexican State was aware that addressing the Committee’s urgent actions was its obligation under the Convention, and it dealt with those urgent actions promptly.  In 2017, Mexico had set up a mechanism to address the urgent action portfolio and to timely liaise with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.  Mexico maintained a policy of openness and dialogue with human rights treaty bodies, and the Government was convinced that such openness to scrutiny was beneficial for all Mexican citizens.  The definitive solution to enforced disappearances required the active involvement of the Government, civil society, and the families of disappeared persons. 

SARA IRENE HERRERIAS GUERRA, Deputy Prosecutor for Human Rights, Crime Prevention and Community Services at the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico, underscored that the priority of all public servants was to provide care to victims of disappearance.  Accordingly, the Government had set up the National Search Commission and the National Search System, bringing together the authorities of all 32 federal entities in the country.   The National Search Commission had begun its work by coordinating with all relevant institutions and by ensuring that relevant authorities cooperated with it.  It was currently drafting a harmonized search protocol and data collection for the National Register on Disappeared Persons.  Another new institution that was established was the National Council of Citizens, which brought together family members, victims’ associations, and experts.  Other measures to implement the Committee’s recommendations included the establishment of a specialized prosecution unit within the Attorney General’s Office, a strategy for making public servants more specialized in investigating enforced disappearance, and the setting up of psychosocial care for victims and families. 

Despite progress, Mexico still faced many challenges.  The Government was fully committed to continued cooperation with the Committee and to eradicate the crime of enforced disappearance.  The authorities were working to establish a unified national register of disappeared persons, which was currently 70 per cent complete, to define the criminal responsibility of high-ranking  public officials, to step up efforts to investigate disappearances of migrants, to ensure that the enforced disappearance committed by one member of the military against another was excluded from the military justice system, to guarantee effective protection to persons who denounced enforced disappearances, to guarantee effective reparation, and to conduct adequate training for public servants, among other things. 

Questions by the Committee Experts

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, commended the State party for the timely submission of the follow-up report to the Committee’s recommendations.  Ms. Galvino Patino asked whether once the appropriate legal framework for dealing with enforced disappearance had been set up, Mexico would consider recognizing individual and inter-State communications

As for urgent actions, she inquired what measures had been adopted to ensure that federal and state officials understood the binding nature of the Convention. 

Ms. Galvis Patino further asked about the earmarked budgetary lines to enable sustainable operations of the national mechanisms on enforced disappearances.  Was there an entity which would guide the work of all relevant federal and provincial bodies?  Was there a plan in place to establish national search commissions across all federal entities?  What measures had been taken to include a gender perspective into their work? 

The Co-Rapporteur also inquired about the participation of victims in search and investigation efforts, training for State officials and the effectiveness of such training, and the harmonization of the General Act on Enforced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Perpetrated by Individuals and the National Search System at the level of federal entities.

A Committee Expert voiced some doubts about the functioning of the National Register of Missing and Disappeared Persons, namely about the void in data collection.  What was the correct interpretation of the number of disappeared persons and how did the State party determine that number?

Was the National Forensic Data Bank up and running?  Would it contain data for the entire country?  How did the authorities ensure the return of victims’ remains and the provision of data and information to the families in a sensitive manner? 

HORACIO RAVENNA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, observed that the recently adopted General Act contained certain contradictions about the criminal responsibility of superior officials.  There was a conceptual mistake in treating the cases of disappearance involving children. 

Mr. Ravenna further drew attention to the problem of harmonization of laws across federal entities, citing the example of the General Law on Absences.

Another Expert noted that the general law opened up additional challenges, such as the harmonized protocol for investigation of enforced disappearances.  Statistical information was a black box which the Committee could not grasp.  Having accurate data was vital for making progress with investigations. 

How many ongoing investigations of disappearances were taking place and how many had been archived?  How many investigations had led to accusations and convictions?  How many trials were ongoing?

Additionally, there was a problem of internal assignment of jurisdiction, fragmentation of investigations, submission of complaints and re-victimization of victims, gathering of evidence, retention of evidence, funding, and independence of the prosecution service.

Turning to the reformed military justice system, the Experts asked whether the criminal justice system took stock of the distinction between the responsibility of superior officials giving orders and of military commanders fulfilling those orders.  Did members of the military receive training on enforced disappearance?  Was there any immunity that posed challenges for the civilian justice system?

What kind of training programmes were offered to special prosecutors?  Who was responsible for the drafting of those programmes and who selected them?  How were those programmes evaluated? 

What did the delegation mean when it said that 70 per cent of the establishment of the National Registry of Missing and Disappeared Persons had been finalized?  What steps had been completed and when would the process finish? 

What kind of hindrances could the 32 federal entities with their separate laws pose to the implementation of the general law on enforced disappearances?  Would the three states identified as having the highest number of enforced disappearances be given priority when the regional search units were established across the country?

SUELA JANINA, Committee Chairperson, underlined the importance of the effective cooperation with international mechanisms.  However, recently the Committee’s request for a visit under article 33 of the Convention had been denied by the State party.   

Replies by the Delegation

MIGUEL RUÍZ CABAÑAS, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, answering the question on whether the State party would recognize the Committee’s competence to accept individual communications, reiterated that the Government attached priority to developing a legal and institutional framework for tackling enforced disappearances.  He underscored that Mexico was in no way closed to the international scrutiny of other bodies, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. 

As for urgent actions, the delegation clarified that the Mexican State understood the compulsory obligation in that respect because it bolstered efforts of search and investigation of cases of enforced disappearances.  It was a treaty obligation.  With respect to the measures to ensure that State officials understood the mandatory nature of those obligations, the federal Government disseminated relevant information.  There was an obligation for all federal entities to harmonize their laws with the federal General Law on Absences.   They could add certain provisions which corresponded to their own realities.  

Turning to the establishment of various institutions tasked to deal with enforced disappearances, the delegation cited the ongoing training for relevant staff, and the drafting of the harmonized investigation protocol for enforced disappearance and of technological guidelines for the national forensic data bank.  As for the budgetary resources, the authorities had called for an increase in staff to catch up with some 1,000 cases currently under investigation. 

The National Search Commission had its own budget, but only nine local search commissions had been set up so far.  The National Search Commission had urged federal entity ministries to set up their local search commissions and to draw up relevant roadmaps.  The National Search Programme was still open to public consultations in order to involve victims’ families as much as possible.   

As for gender parity, the delegation explained that all public agencies had to follow a non-discrimination order in recruitment.  The Attorney General’s Office aimed to recruit an equal number of men and women.  The National Search Commission had seven female staff, whereas three local search commissions were headed by women. 

Previously, each federal entity gathered information about disappearances and sent it to the central register at the federal level, which could lead to multiple entries and double registering of the same disappearance.  The National Register of Missing and Disappeared Persons sought to cross reference disappearance entries with the national population register.  Out of 37,000 disappearance entries, the federal authorities had identified 26,000 clear cases of disappeared persons.  Some civil society associations had worked with the authorities to verify that information.  

Since 2013, there had been a working protocol in place between the Post Mortem Database and the National Forensic Data Bank to identify persons on the basis of post-mortem remains.  The goal was to consolidate all the forensic data and post mortem records at the national level. 

Follow-up Questions by the Committee Experts   

HORACIO RAVENNA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, expressed hope that the commitment of the current Mexican Government to investigate disappearance cases would be carried over to the incoming Government. 

Was there greater victimization of women in terms of enforced disappearances?  Mr. Ravenna highlighted that Mexico had various levels of legislation to resolve a single problem.  An absence with a presumption of enforced disappearance had to be investigated urgently. 

Turning to the National Forensic Data Bank, Mr. Ravenna stressed that political will was necessary to collect the genetic data of the family members of disappeared persons.

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, raised the issue of the immediate launch of the search for disappeared persons in order to increase the chance of finding them alive.

A Committee Expert asked about the number of migrants among the missing persons in Mexico.  The Committee had received information about Mexican authorities having refused to launch search because of unsubstantial information.  How was the National Search Commission organized?

Replies by the Delegation

MIGUEL RUÍZ CABAÑAS, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, repeated that the outgoing Government would communicate the commitment to tackle enforced disappearances to the incoming Government. 

Due to a concern about the rise in violence against women, a working group had been set up to investigate the problem and it had found out that family violence drew adolescents outside the home, the delegation explained.  There was a registry of migrants and the authorities were currently revising all relevant information.  Currently, there were 384 recorded missing foreigners. 

The public prosecution service was compelled to immediately to carry out an investigation and search for disappeared persons.  The Government shared the view that the collection of genetic data of the missing persons’ families should be a priority.  However, families very often said that they did not trust providing genetic information to the authorities. 

The delegation added that among the 1,000 pending cases of disappearances at the Attorney General’s Office, 114 were registered as enforced disappearances.  It was challenging to distinguish between enforced disappearances perpetrated by State officials and disappearances perpetrated by individuals.

The delegation informed that women made up 25 per cent of all disappeared persons in Mexico, and 40 per cent of all enforced disappearances.  When the Government looked at the digital identity files of missing or disappeared persons and the single file, the authorities would be able to trace the circumstances of disappearances of these people and they would then be able to speak about trends. 

Neither the General Act on Enforced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Perpetrated by Individuals and the National Search System, nor the Law on Absence removed the jurisdiction of local authorities.  Four federal entities had already harmonized their laws with federal ones.  A general law had to be implemented at all tiers of Government (federal, regional/state, and local). 

The Attorney General’s Office used a methodological plan for the current investigation of 1,000 disappearance cases in order to ensure proper case management.  The authorities held regular consultations with families and victims’ associations in order to ensure the participation of victims.

Disappearances and personal security were the most serious human rights concern in Mexico.  Government institutions were, thus, obliged to address that problem.  Various civil society organizations had called for an independent Attorney General, not belonging to any political party and serving the people.  The Senate would search candidates who met those conditions.  

The Executive Committee for Victim Support had granted reparations to direct and indirect victims of enforced disappearances during the “dirty war” in the 1960s and 1970s.  The Attorney General’s Office was currently handling the cases of 243 victims.

Concerning the responsibility of military superiors, the delegation said that no member of the armed forces was obliged to obey an order that undermined human rights.  The Mexican law did not foresee immunity for any act that could be considered a crime.  The National Human Rights Commission could undertake any sort of monitoring of military records or units as part of its mandate.  The military staff received training on international humanitarian law, international human rights standards, appropriate use of force, and enforced disappearance.  

The delegation stressed that in 2018 there had been a 78 per cent drop in the submission of complaints of human rights violations to the National Human Rights Commission.  In June 2018, the Attorney General’s Office had issued the guidelines for training and certification of special prosecutors. 

Questions by the Committee Experts

HORACIO RAVENNA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, asked whether the State party would consider forming another national commission of inquiry into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College

He further inquired whether the activities of the Mexican security forces were restricted to internal conflicts only and whether the Geneva Conventions could apply to the country’s current security situation.

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, inquired about the situation of disappeared migrant victims and appropriate technical knowledge of those institutions dealing with migrants.  Was the Post Mortem Database coordinated with corresponding databases in Central America? 

Ms. Galvis Patino noted that the Committee had received information that Mexican diplomatic missions did not have relevant knowledge when it came to migrant victims of disappearances.  In terms of victim support and care, how was that support accessed at the regional level? 

The Experts reminded that the number of complaints received by the Executive Committee for Victim Support had not dropped.  In spite of assurances, very often victims faced barriers in receiving redress due to the lack of criminal investigations across the country.  How were victims of enforced disappearances addressed and recognized? 

How many criminal investigations of enforced disappearances were taking place and how many convictions had been handed down?  Did the State party consider providing immaterial redress, such as apologies, which had been used after the “dirty war” period?

What was the State party’s assessment of the Security Act, which many civil society organizations had deemed unconstitutional and was currently in front of the Supreme Court?  How did the State party overcome the atmosphere of fear which surrounded redress claims?

Replies by the Delegation

SARA IRENE HERRERIAS GUERRA, Assistant Attorney General for Human Rights, Crime Prevention and Community Services at the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico, explained that the Collegial Tribunal had ordered the creation of a truth commission on the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College.  A group of independent experts, and now a special follow-up mechanism set up by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, had been involved in the investigation, which had fulfilled 90 per cent of the independent expert group’s recommendations.  Parents and other interested parties had been involved in these meetings.  The Attorney General’s Office was in charge of the investigation.  The Supreme Court would rule on what would happen with the truth commission. 

The delegation pointed out that the Internal Security Law was a State law and not meant just for the security forces.  Its article 18 clearly established that internal security activities could replace agencies and branches of Government in their normal duties.  Internal security was the only justification for the intervention of the armed forces.  No active intelligence activities could undermine any fundamental freedoms and rights.  Mexico did not have an internal conflict as far as the armed forces were concerned, but the problem was organized crime, which was why the Geneva Conventions could not apply. 

MIGUEL RUÍZ CABAÑAS, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, furthered clarified that Mexico had organized criminal outfits which did not exercise control over a part of the country’s territory.  They did not have a commander and could not be considered a “belligerent force” in line with the Geneva Conventions. 

A special prosecution unit on disappearances would deal with the cases of disappeared migrants.  The forensic commissions were particularly important in carrying out investigations, which had identified remains across the country.  The relevant Mexican authorities had visited El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in order to seek additional information from family members and to compile a consolidated database.  The Executive Committee for Victim Support had also formed a specialized unit for disappeared migrants. 

As for the information that Mexican diplomatic missions did not have relevant knowledge when it came to migrant victims of disappearances, the delegation said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aimed to train consular workers on the granting of humanitarian visas.  Mexico had received relevant recommendations from the Committee on Migrant Workers. 

The Victims Act compelled all Government authorities to provide reparation, care and support to victims.  The Government would publish a regulation to amend the law based on the views of victims’ associations and academia.  Victims would have access to immediate assistance measures without unnecessary bureaucratic barriers.  The Government had also provided collective reparation, which included immaterial forms of compensation.  The Home Affairs Ministry’s fund for the victims of the “dirty war” had paid financial compensation to 145 persons, heirs of direct victims of enforced disappearances.   

In October 2018, the Attorney General’s Office had held new sessions with victims’ associations to discuss a new harmonized investigation protocol for enforced disappearances which aimed to eliminate impunity.  There could not be any lack of action on part of the prosecution service; inaction would be punished.  There were 43 convictions under the Amparo (habeas corpus), which was the new support mechanism for the prosecution service. 

Follow-up Questions by the Committee Experts

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, drew attention to the security of victims who lodged an urgent action with the Committee, and she inquired how the State party would coordinate with Geneva with respect to urgent actions.  

Ms. Galvis Patino also called attention to 35,000 unidentified corpses, which was a “Mexican forensic emergency.”

HORACIO RAVENNA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, asked what kind of documents had to be submitted for a person to be considered an heir to a victim and to be able to receive compensation. 

An Expert asked whether all sentences were the result of the Amparo proceedings.

Replies by the Delegation

MIGUEL RUÍZ CABAÑAS, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said that the Home Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would coordinate liaison with Geneva with respect to the Committee’s urgent actions.  On the 35,000 unidentified corpses, the Undersecretary said that it was a challenge that the country had to resolve.  The exchange of information with the United States could lead to some positive results.

As for the safety of persons who lodged urgent actions with the Committee, there were two national protection mechanisms for victims and families, and for human rights defenders.  The authorities were constantly improving the risk analysis by integrating a gender and cultural perspective.  Panic buttons and armed escort could be provided to human rights defenders.

Concluding Remarks
 
MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, welcomed the useful and cordial dialogue with the delegation.  The Committee was able to gain a better understanding of the situation in Mexico, including of the tremendous outstanding challenges.  Ms. Galvis Patino underlined the importance of victims’ participation in the entire process of search and investigation of enforced disappearances, and of improving the forensic side of the process.  She reminded the delegation of the opportunity to submit any additional information in the next 48 hours.

HORACIO RAVENNA, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Mexico, expressed solidarity with the victims when dictatorship reigned in Latin America and hoped that the dialogue with the Committee would be beneficial for the Mexican people.    Mr. Ravenna also expressed hope that the Committee would be able to visit the State party.

MIGUEL RUÍZ CABAÑAS, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, thanked the Committee Experts for their interest in Mexico.  He stressed that Mexico did not have a State policy of disappearance.  Notwithstanding the involvement of State agents in disappearances, a huge number of disappearances had been organized and committed by organized criminal gangs.  The Undersecretary thanked the Committee for having made recommendations to Mexico to strengthen its institutions to tackle the problem of enforced disappearances.  The only way for Mexico to truly resolve the problem was by working with victims’ families and associations.  Victims were the key concern for the Government.  

SUELA JANINA, Committee Chairperson, thanked Mexico for sending a well prepared delegation.  The Committee monitored the implementation of the Convention and it was up to the State party to fulfil its obligations.  The positive legislative steps should be translated into full and effective implementation.  The Committee would like to stand with the victims and to assist Mexican institutions.


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CED18.10E