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The first attempts in Mexico and Central America to address the phenomenon of missing and disappeared migrants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 August 2018

Abstract

The phenomenon of missing migrants, including victims of enforced disappearance, presents exceptional challenges due to its specific features and transnational scope. This article analyzes the case of missing and disappeared migrants in Mexico and illustrates the obstacles faced by their families, mostly residing in Central America, in their efforts to establish the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and to obtain justice and redress. The article describes the process which led to the establishment of three mechanisms – a Forensic Commission, an Investigative Unit on Crimes against Migrants and an External Mechanism of Support for Search and Investigation – that aim at providing innovative responses and tackling the transnational dimension of the issue. The first significant achievements are presented, along with the remaining pitfalls.

Type
Identifying the dead
Copyright
Copyright © icrc 2018 

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Footnotes

*

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of TRIAL International or FEDEFAM. The author is grateful to Elena Carpanelli and Tullio Scovazzi for their invaluable comments on earlier drafts of this article, as well as to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and to the editors for the generous support during the review process. The author can be contacted at gabriella.citroni@unimib.it.

References

1 Among others, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been actively following the subject in recent years; see ICRC, “Missing Migrants”, available at: www.icrc.org/en/missing-migrants (all internet references were accessed in January 2018). Together with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across Europe, the ICRC has set up a tracing system called Trace the Face, aimed at helping refugees and migrants finding missing family members; see ICRC, “Trace the Face: People Looking for Missing Migrants in Europe”, available at: www.icrc.org/en/document/trace-face-people-looking-missing-migrants-europe. See also ICRC, Missing Migrants and Their Families: The ICRC's Recommendations to Policy-Makers, August 2017, available at: www.icrc.org/sites/default/files/document/file_list/missing-migrants-and-their-families.pdf. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched the Missing Migrants project, available at: missingmigrants.iom.int. The International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) has joined forces with the IOM to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the number of missing migrants in the Mediterranean region, and has also created an Online Inquiry Center to provide information about missing persons, including migrants, available at: oic.icmp.int/index.php?w=intro&l=en. This tool uses an identification management system that collects data and information spanning different continents and time periods. Another initiative conducted by the IOM, in cooperation with the University of York and the City University of London, between 2015 and 2016, is the Mediterranean Missing project: see “Mediterranean Missing: Understanding Needs of Families and Obligations of Authorities”, available at: www.mediterraneanmissing.eu/.

2 Kovras, Iosif and Robins, Simon, “Death as the Border: Managing Missing Migrants and Unidentified Bodies at the EU's Mediterranean Frontier”, Political Geography, No. 55, 2016CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cattaneo, Cristina and D'Amico, Marilisa, I diritti annegati – I morti senza nome del Mediterraneo, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2016Google Scholar; Brian, Tara and Laczko, Frank (eds.), Fatal Journeys, Vol. 2: Identification and Tracing of Dead and Missing Migrants, IOM, Geneva, 2016Google Scholar; Oelgemöller, Christina, “The Illegal, the Missing: An Evaluation of Conceptual Inventions”, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2017Google Scholar.

3 Among others, see the websites of the Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, available at: fundacionjusticia.org/; and the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, available at: www.regionalmms.org.

4 In recent years, especially in Central America, various committees of relatives of missing migrants have been created, including the Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos del Progreso (COFAMIPRO) of Honduras, the Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Fallecidos y Desaparecidos de El Salvador (COFAMIDE), and the Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos del Centro de Honduras (COFAMICENH). For a similar initiative in the Mediterranean, Terre pour Tous (Tunisia) can be mentioned. Notably, several associations of support for relatives of missing migrants have been established in countries of destination, such as Carovane Migranti in Italy (carovanemigranti.org), the Movimiento Migrantes Mesoamericano in Mexico and Central America (movimientomigrantemesoamericano.org), and Caravana Abriendo Fronteras, which is organized in Spain but also active in France, Italy and Greece (caravanaagrecia.info). In July 2017 the Permanent Peoples Tribunal on Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples (PPT) launched a process concerning violations of the human rights of migrants and refugees. During the first two sessions, held in Barcelona and Palermo, the issue of missing migrants was also dealt with; see the PPT website, available at: transnationalmigrantplatform.net/migrantppt/.

5 Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (Special Rapporteur on Executions), Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants, UN Doc. A/72/335, 15 August 2017, para. 73.

6 Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), Report on Enforced Disappearances in the Context of Migration, UN Doc. A/HRC/36/39/Add.2, 28 July 2017, paras 77–79. For more on this report and the WGEID, see the article by Bernard Duhaime and Adréanne Thibault in this issue of the Review.

7 WGEID, 2016 Annual Report, UN Doc. A/HRC/33/51, 28 June 2016, paras 46–80.

Ibid.

9 Ibid., paras 68–69.

Ibid.

10 WGEID, above note 6, para. 81.

11 Ibid., paras 57, 80. For a detailed analysis of States’ obligations in the context of the enforced disappearance of migrants, see ibid., paras 58–79.

Ibid.

12 For scholarly writings about enforced disappearance, see above note 2.

13 For projects by NGOs and international organizations, see above note 1.

14 In the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, further discussed below.

15 Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Human Rights of Migrants and Other Persons in the Context of Human Mobility in Mexico, OEA/SER-L/V.II, Doc. 48/114, 30 December 2013, para. 3; Special Rapporteur on Executions, above note 5, para. 7.

16 IACHR, above note 15, para. 3.

17 See, among others, IACHR, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Mexico, OEA/SER.L/V/II, Doc. 44/15, 31 December 2015. The persistence of a severe human rights crisis in Mexico has been recently confirmed in Preliminary Observations by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR Following Their Joint Visit to Mexico, 4 December 2017, para. 8, available at: www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22484&LangID=E. See also Open Society Justice Initiative, Undeniable Atrocities: Confronting Crimes against Humanity in Mexico, 2016, available at: www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/undenialble-atrocities-2nd-edition-20160808.pdf. In July 2017, a coalition of Mexican NGOs submitted a report to the International Criminal Court with the aim of triggering an investigation on this situation; see International Federation for Human Rights, México: Asesinatos, desapariciones y torturas en Coahuila de Zaragoza constituyen crímenes de lesa humanidad, June 2017, available at: www.frayjuandelarios.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/com.pdf.

18 Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Special Rapporteur on Torture), Report on the Mission to Mexico, UN. Doc. A/HRC/28/68/Add.3, 29 December 2014, para. 23.

19 Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED), Concluding Observations on Mexico, UN Doc. CED/C/MEX/CO/1, 13 February 2015, para. 10; WGEID, Follow-Up Report to the Recommendations made by the Working Group: Missions to Mexico and Timor Leste, UN Doc. A/HRC/30/38/Add.4, 11 September 2015, para. 7.

20 Special Rapporteur on Executions, Report on the Mission to Mexico, UN Doc. A/HRC/26/36/Add.1, 28 April 2014.

21 Ibid., para. 8.

Ibid.

22 See, for example, Special Rapporteur on Torture, above note 18, para. 31; Special Rapporteur on Executions, above note 20, paras 9, 11; Special Rapporteur on Executions, Follow-Up Report on the Visit to Mexico, UN Doc. A/HRC/32/39/Add.2, 6 May 2016, paras 7, 25, 50; WGEID, Report on the Mission to Mexico, UN Doc. A/HRC/19/58/Add.2, 20 December 2011, paras 18 and 66.

23 See IACHR, above note 15.

24 CNDH, Informe especial sobre los casos de secuestro en contra de migrantes, 5 June 2009, available at: www.cndh.org.mx/sites/all/doc/Informes/Especiales/2009_migra.pdf; CNDH, Informe especial sobre secuestro de migrantes en México, 22 February 2011, available at: www.cndh.org.mx/sites/all/doc/Informes/Especiales/2011_secmigrantes.pdf. In 2017 the CNDH issued a special report on disappeared persons and clandestine burial sites in Mexico, wherein some references to migrant victims of enforced disappearance can be found, although this is not the main focus of the document; see CNDH, Informe especial de la comisión nacional de los derechos humanos sobre desaparición de personas y fosas clandestinas en México, available at: www.cndh.org.mx/sites/all/doc/Informes/Especiales/InformeEspecial_20170406.pdf.

25 IACHR, above note 15, para. 109 (emphasis added).

26 WGEID, above note 22, para. 69.

27 Ibid., para. 18.

Ibid.

28 Ibid., para. 21.

Ibid.

29 General Law on Enforced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Committed by Non-State Actors and the National System of Search of Persons, 17 November 2017 (entered into force 16 January 2018) (General Law on Disappeared Persons), available at: www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/LGMDFP_171117.pdf. For the definition of the terms “disappeared” and “not localized”, see Art. 2.XV–XVI.

30 Secretaría de la Marina, Personal de la Armada de México descubre rancho de presuntos delincuentes en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, 24 August 2010, available at: 2006-2012.semar.gob.mx/sala-prensa/comunicados-2010/1436-comunicado-de-prensa-216-2010.html.

31 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, Fosas clandestinas en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, 2011, available at: fundacionjusticia.org/47-fosas-con-193-restos-en-san-fernando-tamaulipas/.

32 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, El caso de 49 torsos encontrados en la carretera a Nuevo León, 2012, available at: fundacionjusticia.org/el-caso-de-49-torsos-encontrados-en-la-carretera-de-cadereyta-nuevo-leon/.

33 IACHR, above note 15, paras 179–183; Jesse Franzblau, “PGR entrega datos sobre participación de policías de San Fernando en masacre de migrantes”, Animal Político, 22 December 2014, available at: www.animalpolitico.com/2014/12/policias-de-san-fernando-participaron-en-masacre-de-migrantes-pgr-entrega-datos-del-caso/.

34 See, for example, CNDH, Recomendación sobre la investigación de violaciones graves a los derechos humanos a la seguridad ciudadana y de acceso a la justicia en su modalidad de procuración, en agravio de las 49 personas halladas sin vida en el Municipio de Cadereyta, Nuevo León, 18 October 2017, available at: www.cndh.org.mx/sites/all/doc/Recomendaciones/ViolacionesGraves/RecVG_008.pdf.

35 Special Rapporteur on Executions, above note 20.

36 Ibid., para. 74.

Ibid.

37 See, for example, Amnesty International, “Mexico Becoming a ‘No-Go Zone’ for Migrants as Gruesome Massacre Remains Unresolved Five Years On”, 2015, available at: www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/08/mexico-becoming-a-no-go-zone-for-migrants-as-gruesome-massacre-remains-unresolved-five-years-on/; Human Rights Watch, Mexico's Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored, 20 February 2013, available at: www.hrw.org/report/2013/02/20/mexicos-disappeared/enduring-cost-crisis-ignored; Open Society Justice Initiative, above note 17.

38 Special Rapporteur on Executions, above note 5, para. 70.

39 Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes, Informe Ayotzinapa, Mexico City, 2015, pp. 347–359; Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes, Informe Ayotzinapa II, Mexico City, 2016, pp. 555–605. See also IACHR, Violence, Children and Organized Crime, OEA/SER.L.V/II, Doc. 40/15, 11 November 2015, paras 400–401 (on the specific situation of migrants, see paras 319–326, 340–342).

40 It must be pointed out that families of Mexican missing or disappeared migrants are exposed to a particularly harsh situation and may find themselves somewhat “overshadowed” by relatives of other Mexican disappeared. Among others, see Morbiato, Caterina, “Prácticas resistentes en el México de la desaparición forzada”, Trace, No. 71, 2017CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Aaron Nelson and Julysa Sosa, “The Search for Missing Migrants”, Pulitzer Center, 24 July 2017, available at: pulitzercenter.org/reporting/search-missing-migrants; José Ignacio de Alba, “23 migrantes mexicanos, cuatro años desaparecidos y las familias los siguen buscando”, Animal Político, 25 March 2015, available at: www.animalpolitico.com/2015/03/23-migrantes-mexicanos-cuatro-anos-desaparecidos-y-las-familias-que-los-siguen-buscando/.

41 IACHR, above note 15, para. 93.

42 See, among others, Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report to the CED in View of the Adoption of the List of Issues, May 2014, available at: tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CED/Shared%20Documents/MEX/INT_CED_ICO_MEX_17773_S.pdf; Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report to the CED in View of the Periodic Exam of Mexico, December 2014, available at: tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CED/Shared%20Documents/MEX/INT_CED_NGO_MEX_19217_S.pdf.

43 Concerning cases of enforced disappearance, a number of conventions provide obligations for States to cooperate with regard to criminal proceedings, locating and releasing disappeared persons and, in the event of death, exhuming and identifying them and returning their remains. See International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, 20 December 2006 (ICPPED), Arts 9(2), 11(1), 14, 15, 25(3). The ICPPED entered into force on 23 December 2010; Mexico ratified it on 18 March 2008 and, among Central American States mostly concerned by the phenomenon of migration to Mexico, only Honduras is a State party, having ratified the Convention on 1 April 2008. See also the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, 9 June 1994, which has been in force since 28 March 1996 and has been ratified – among the States analyzed in this article – by Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, respectively on 22 February 2000, 11 July 2005 and 9 April 2002. This convention establishes an obligation to cooperate in order to “prevent, punish and eliminate the forced disappearance of persons” (Art. I(c)), and to “provide one another mutual assistance in the search for, identification, location, and return of minors who have been removed to another State or detained therein as a consequence of the forced disappearance of their parents or guardians” (Art. XII). The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) has elaborated on the obligation to cooperate among States vis-à-vis cases of enforced disappearance, in particular with regard to the conduct of investigations, extradition of suspects and mutual legal assistance. See IACtHR, Goiburú and Others v. Paraguay, Judgment, 22 September 2006, paras 130–132.

44 Ximena Suárez, Andrés Díaz, José Knippen and Maureen Meyer, El acceso a la justicia para personas migrantes en México: un derecho que existe sólo en el papel, July 2017, available at: fundacionjusticia.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Accesoalajusticia_Versionweb_Julio2017.pdf.

45 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., Follow-up Report to the CED, February 2017, para. 49, available at: fundacionjusticia.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FINAL-InformedeseguimientoCED-MEX2017-2.pdf.

46 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report in View of the Adoption of the List of Issues, above note 42, paras 81–98. See also UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, recommended by Economic and Social Council Res. 1989/65, 24 May 1989, Principle 16, available at: www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/executions.pdf.

47 X. Suárez et al., above note 44; Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Follow-Up Report to the CED, February 2016, para. 34, available at: tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CED/Shared%20Documents/MEX/INT_CED_NGS_MEX_23956_S.pdf.

48 WGEID, “General Comment on the Right to the Truth in Relation to Enforced Disappearance”, in Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, UN Doc. A/HRC/16/48, 26 January 2011, para. 39 (in particular see para. 3 of the General Comment, on the right of relatives of disappeared persons to be closely involved with the investigations). Article 24(2) of the ICPPED recognizes the victims’ right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of the enforced disappearance, the progress and results of the investigation and the fate of the disappeared person.

49 See, for example, IACtHR, Gutiérrez and Family v. Argentina, Judgment, 25 November 2013, paras 97, 138–139.

50 IACHR, above note 15, paras 192, 195.

51 WGEID, above note 6, paras 11–13.

52 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, para. 63.

53 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report to the Committee against Torture, May 2012, available at: tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/MEX/INT_CAT_NGO_MEX_12976_S.pdf, paras 136–150 (reference to the return of the wrong mortal remains at para. 139).

54 Among others, the case of Ms Bertila Parada, mother of Mr Carlos Osorio Parada, can be cited. Mr Osorio Parada left El Salvador in March 2011, heading to the United States. His mother heard from him for the last time on 26 March 2011, when he was in Monterrey (Mexico), allegedly almost ready to cross the border. Ms Parada reported the disappearance of her son to the Salvadorian authorities. In 2012, she received a communication through the Salvadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to which the remains of her son had been located among the dead bodies found in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, and were going to be incinerated. Ms Parada expressed her wish to obtain more information on the process of identification and to oppose the cremation. In order to halt this process, Ms Parada, represented by a Mexican NGO, filed an appeal before the Mexican authorities. She eventually obtained the suspension of this measure, but her case reached the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico with regard to the refusal to acknowledge her status as a “victim” and to grant her access to data and information on the progress of the investigation. It was not until 2 March 2016 that the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico issued a landmark verdict acknowledging the legal status as victims – along with the ensuing rights – of relatives of missing migrants. Zorayda Gallegos, “México emite un fallo histórico en el caso de los migrantes masacrados en San Fernando”, El País, 3 March 2016, available at: internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2016/03/03/mexico/1456968766_847064.html. See Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico, Amparo en revisión, Case No. 382/2015, 30 January 2017, available at: www2.scjn.gob.mx/ConsultaTematica/PaginasPub/DetallePub.aspx?AsuntoID=178853.

55 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report in View of the Adoption of the List of Issues, above note 42, paras 164–170.

56 César Contreras León, “Sentencias que no se cumplen: El derecho de papel y la justicia que no llega”, 18 September 2017, available at: eljuegodelacorte.nexos.com.mx/?p=6904#_ftn1.

57 See, for example, Red Regional Verdad y Justicia para las Personas Migrantes, Las personas migrantes como grupo vulnerable, February 2014, available at: fundacionjusticia.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/INFORME-RELATOR-EJECUCIONES-EXTRAJUDICIALES-140413.pdf; CNDH, above note 34.

58 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, Migrantes y mexicanos asesinados y desaparecidos en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, México en relación con Estados Unidos Mexicanos, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador y Honduras, Request for Precautionary Measures to the IACHR, 2011 (on file with author).

59 IACHR, Letter to the Petitioners of Request MC-214-11, REF: Migrantes y mexicanos presuntamente asesinados y desaparecidos en México/Solicitud de medidas cautelares, 19 October 2011 (on file with author).

60 IACHR, above note 15, para. 409, Recommendations 14, 15, 27, 39. The IACHR holds periodic thematic audiences on the subject of access to justice for migrants in Mexico; see Organization of American States, “Audiencias y otros eventos públicos de la CIDH”, available at: www.oas.org/es/cidh/audiencias/TopicsList.aspx?Lang=es&Topic=20.

61 See Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, UN Doc. A/HRC/25/7, 11 December 2013, paras 148.58, 148.79, 149.89, 148.131, 148.146, 148.173, 148.174, 148.175, 148.176; Special Rapporteur on Executions, above note 20, para. 74; WGEID, above note 22, paras 62, 69–70, 110.

62 In 2008, the ICRC made available an ante-mortem/post-mortem (AM/PM) database; see ICRC, “Ante-Mortem/Post-Mortem Database: An Information Management Application for Missing Persons/Forensic Data”, available at: www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/2013/ampm-database-information-sheet-icrc-2012.pdf. Since 2014, the ICRC has supported the Mexican authorities in the implementation of the AM/PM database; see ICRC, “Actions and Results – Mexico”, January–August 2014, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y7ow6lvq. See also Ute Hofmeister, Shuala Martin, Carlos Villalobos, Juliana Padilla and Oran Finegan, “The ICRC AM/PM Database: Challenges in Forensic Data Management in the Humanitarian Sphere”, Forensic Science International, Vol. 279, 2017.

63 CED, above note 19, para. 24.

64 IACHR, above note 15, paras 182–199, 247–248.

65 Ibid., paras 192, 208. See also Aikin, Olga and Muñoz, Alejandro Anaya, “Crisis de derechos humanos de las personas migrantes en tránsito por México: Redes y presión transnacional”, Foro Internacional, Vol. 53, No. 1, 2013Google Scholar. A short film on the advocacy campaign “Por un mecanismo transnacional de justicia para migrantes” is available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeewNACYVOQ.

Ibid.

66 The organizations involved were COFAMIDE, COFAMIPRO, the Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, Casa del Migrante de Saltillo, Centro Diocesano de Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios, Asociación Civil Voces Mesoamericanas, Mesa Nacional para las Migraciones en Guatemala, Asociación Misioneros de San Carlos Scalabrinianos en Guatemala, Centro de Derechos Humanos Victoria Diez, and Foro Nacional para la Migración en Honduras.

67 Texto oficial del Convenio de Colaboración para la Identificación de Restos Localizados en San Fernando, Tamaulipas y en Cadereyta, Nuevo León, 22 August 2013 (Agreement on the Forensic Commission), available at: fundacionjusticia.org/proyectos-home/texto-oficial-del-convenio-de-colaboracion-para-la-identificacion-de-restos-localizados-en-san-fernando-tamaulipas-y-en-cadereyta-nuevo-leon/.

68 IACHR, above note 15, paras 173, 234 and 322. See also Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW), Concluding Observations on Mexico, UN Doc. CMW/C/MEX/CO/3, 13 September 2017, para. 31; Dubois, Olivier and de la Fuente, Rocío Maldonado, “Armed Violence and the Missing in Mexico and Central America”, Humanitarian Exchange, No. 69, 2017Google Scholar.

69 IACHR, above note 15, paras 199–204.

70 Ibid.; Agreement on the Forensic Commission, above note 67, Arts 12, 14.

Ibid.

71 IACHR, above note 15, paras 199–204.

72 The very title of the Agreement establishing the Forensic Commission refers to “cooperation for the identification of remains found in San Fernando, Tamaulipas and Cadereyta, Nuevo León”; see Agreement on the Forensic Commission, above note 67. See below on the ongoing attempts to further expand the mandate of the Forensic Commission.

73 Ibid., Arts 4, 9; IACHR, above note 15, paras 207–208, 322.

Ibid.

74 In 2017, the Mexican government acknowledged the disappearance of more than 32,000 people; see “México, el país donde hay más de 32.000 desaparecidos”, CNN Español, 13 September 207, available at: cnnespanol.cnn.com/2017/09/13/mexico-el-pais-donde-hay-mas-de-32-000-desaparecidos/#0. As of February 2018, the number of persons registered in the National Database on Missing and Disappeared Persons was 35,410; see: secretariadoejecutivo.gob.mx/rnped/datos-abiertos.php.

75 At the end of August 2017, the Forensic Commission had identified sixty-eight persons, although the number of notifications is slightly lower, as some have been scheduled for the near future. See Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., Report to the CMW, August 2017, para. 86, available at: tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CMW/Shared%20Documents/MEX/INT_CMW_NGO_MEX_28672_S.pdf. On 4 September 2013, the Forensic Commission adopted a specific Protocol on the Notification of Identification of Remains of People Located in San Fernando, Tamaulipas and Cadereyta, Nuevo León (Protocol on Notification), available at: https://tinyurl.com/y9ftx8pt.

76 Agreement on the Forensic Commission, above note 67, Arts 4, 9. See also Protocol on Notification, above note 75, Art. VIII.

77 Protocol on Notification, above note 75, Art. VII.

78 Cámara de Diputados del H. Congreso de la Unión, Ley de Migración, 25 May 2011, Arts 41, 52.V, available at: www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/ref/lmigra.htm; Cámara de Diputados del H. Congreso de la Unión, Ley General de Víctimas, 9 January 2013 (General Law on Victims), Arts 7.XI, 120.VII, available at: www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/LGV_030117.pdf; General Law on Disappeared Persons, above note 29, Art. 53.XVIII.

79 General Law on Victims, above note 78, Arts 107, 112.

80 IACHR, above note 15, paras 182–199, 247–248.

81 CED, above note 19, para. 24; CMW, above note 68, paras 31–32. See above on the identification of existing gaps and the corresponding recommendations in general.

82 Acuerdo A/117/15 por el que se crea la Unidad de Investigación de Delitos para Personas Migrantes y el Mecanismo de Apoyo Exterior Mexicano de Búsqueda e Investigación y se Establecen sus Facultades y Organización, 18 December 2015 (Agreement on the Establishment of the Investigative Unit and the Mechanism of External Support), available at: www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5420681&fecha=18/12/2015.

83 Ibid., Arts 1, 6.

Ibid.

84 Ibid., Art. 8.

Ibid.

85 Ibid., Art. 11.

Ibid.

86 General Law on Victims, above note 78, Arts 8, 9, 21, 34; Protocol on Notification, above note 75, Art. 9.

87 Agreement on the Establishment of the Investigative Unit and the Mechanism of External Support, above note 82, Art. 11(5).

88 Investigative Unit on Crimes against Migrants, Primer informe estadístico (First Report), 2017, available at: www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/241119/UIDPM-1er_Informe_Estadi_stico_FINAL_ahora_si.pdf.

89 Ibid., pp. 4, 10, 31.

Ibid.

90 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, paras 34, 106.

91 Among others, see CED, Report on Follow-up to the Concluding Observations, UN Doc. CED/C/11/2, 8 November 2016; and WGEID, above note 19.

92 CMW, above note 68, paras 31–32. See also Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Denunciando delitos cometidos contra migrantes en México desde el extranjero, 12 April 2017, available at: www.wola.org/es/analisis/denunciando-delitos-cometidos-contra-migrantes-en-mexico-desde-el-extranjero/.

93 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, paras 86–89.

Ibid.

95 Ibid. While a structural and general expansion of the Forensic Commission's mandate beyond cases of missing or disappeared migrants continues to be considered, significant progress can be registered in the northern state of Coahuila, where on 18 December 2016, with the support of the ICRC, a new law on the exhumation, identification and return of mortal remains has been adopted, available at: http://congresocoahuila.gob.mx/transparencia/03/Leyes_Coahuila/coa246.pdf. This law entitles relatives of missing or disappeared persons to appoint independent forensic experts who can participate in the exhumation and identification process and to review the operations carried out by State authorities in case of doubt (see Arts 13, 40, 100).

Ibid.

96 The only expansion of the Forensic Commission's mandate took place on 8 April 2014, when the General Attorney's Offices of the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León respectively signed the institutive agreement of the Commission (above note 67). Nevertheless, this is still related to the three massacres of migrants, due to the competence of the two mentioned authorities that is concurrent to that of the Attorney General's Office at the federal level. Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, paras 86–89; Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, para. 93.

97 Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, paras 87–92.

98 “¿Ocultan en Coahuila el mayor campo de exterminio de México, con miles de restos humanos?”, Sin Embargo, 7 October 2016, available at: www.sinembargo.mx/07-10-2016/3101385.

99 Above note 75.

100 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report in View of the Periodic Exam of Mexico, above note 42, paras 82–85.

101 COFAMIPRO and COFAMICENH, Report to the CMW, April 2015, paras 23–27, available at: tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CMW/Shared%20Documents/HND/INT_CMW_ICS_HND_20029_S.pdf. See also Honduprensa, Cancillería recibe cuerpos de Hondureños víctimas de masacre en Cadereyta, 23 July 2014, available at: honduprensa.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/cancilleria-recibe-cuerpos-de-hondurenos-victimas-de-masacre-en-cadereyta/.

102 General Law on Victims, above note 78, Art. 31. See Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., Alternative Report in View of the Periodic Exam of Mexico, above note 42, para. 97; COFAMIPRO and COFAMICENH, above note 101, para. 23.

103 Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho et al., above note 47, paras 37–38.

104 Episodes where families living in Central America have been requested to show that they have a bank account in Mexico in order to receive the reimbursement of burial expenses have been registered, showing the inconsistency of the process, which relatives considered to be overly complicated and, eventually, re-traumatizing. Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, para. 97.

105 Investigative Unit on Crimes against Migrants, above note 88, p. 14. See also Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, para. 43.

106 Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, paras 42–69.

107 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, paras 46, 48; Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, para. 72.

108 Investigative Unit on Crimes against Migrants, above note 88, p. 23.

109 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, para. 45.

110 Ibid., para. 48.

Ibid.

111 Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, para. 73.

112 Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios et al., above note 45, para. 65; Asociación de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de Guatemala et al., above note 75, para. 72; WOLA, above note 92.

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