HomeNewsAnalysisWhy Is Mexico Rejecting UN Findings on Disappearances?
ANALYSIS

Why Is Mexico Rejecting UN Findings on Disappearances?

HUMAN RIGHTS / 18 FEB 2015 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Mexico has refuted the findings of a United Nations committee on the country's enforced disappearances while welcoming input from a regional human rights body, raising questions about why the government is trying to discredit the committee's conclusions.

The Mexican government has questioned the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances' (CED) report stating that disappearances are a widespread problem, and that enforced disappearances -- which are technically disappearances that involve security forces or other state officials -- have been met with almost total impunity, reported Milenio.

In the CED's report (pdf), which was concluded on February 11, the committee expressed its "concern over impunity in numerous cases of enforced disappearances, as evidenced by the almost complete lack of convictions for this crime."

The CED recommended that the Mexican government take a series of actions to address this problem, including creating a special prosecution unit in the Attorney General's Office, investigating officials and state agencies, and protecting individuals who report the crime. The CED also pushed for the Mexican government to recognize its competency to review individual cases.

In response, the Mexican government issued a press release stating that the committee's findings do not "adequately reflect the information presented or provide additional elements to reinforce the actions and commitments that have been undertaken to address the challenges mentioned," reported Eje Central.

In addition, Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade told La Jornada that there were inaccuracies in the CED's recommendations "which make us think the review wasn't as exhaustive as it should have been."

Meanwhile, Meade recently stated that the government would welcome the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' (IACHR) input on the case involving 43 students who disappeared in Guerrero state last September.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Mexican government has a number of possible motives for rejecting the CED's findings and recommendations. For one, the CED's conclusions cast the Mexican government in an unfavorable light and undermine President Enrique Peña Nieto's campaign to improve the country's international image.

"The report is very critical of the Mexican government's handling of disappearances and enforced disappearances in the country at a time when the government is feeling already in the spotlight about this issue because of the 43 students who were enforced disappeared in September," Maureen Meyer, a Senior Associate for Mexico and Migrant Rights at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), told InSight Crime. "I think they're feeling very much on the defensive right now."

Another point of contention is the CED's allegations that enforced disappearances are a widespread problem in Mexico, while the Mexican government maintains that many of the country's disappearances likely have other explanations. Jesus Perez, an independent investigator and expert on organized crime in Mexico, told InSight Crime that Mexico has likely rejected the CED's request to review individual cases because it could "shed 'too much' light on issues like the role of military forces in the disappearances of individuals supposedly linked to drug trafficking."

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

On the other hand, although the IACHR can make recommendations about the government's general approach to disappearances, their investigation is focused mainly on the case of the 43 students (pdf). As Meyer told InSight Crime, the Mexican government has agreed to their involvement in this specific investigation at the request of the victims' families and human rights organizations.

The Mexican government may also wish to be seen as cooperative without wanting to actually air its dirty laundry in public. "The Mexican government has on several occasions on the one hand welcomed international scrutiny on their human rights situation and then when reports come out from rapporteurs or in this case a committee, kind of backtracked and worked to discredit the work," Meyer said. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 19 OCT 2012

A top UN human rights official has criticized the US Border Patrol for excessive use of force, adding to mounting…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 20 MAY 2016

Mexico's proposal to use GPS tracking to prevent torture by security officials is another example of unnecessarily elaborate fixes to…

DISPLACEMENT / 23 OCT 2017

The impact that drug-related violence has on citizens in Mexico is similar to what people living through war experience,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.