The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) meets with groups of family members of disappeared persons and civil society organizations from the state of Chihuahua.

· Enforced disappearance in Mexico and, specifically, in the state of Chihuahua, is a humanitarian crisis that requires urgent attention and forceful actions by authorities of all three levels of government.

· We hope that this visit may lead to specific recommendations that take a deep look at the issue of disappearances in our state and their context.

Chihuahua, Chih., November 22, 2021. Today, groups of family members of disappeared individuals in Chihuahua and the organizations that accompany them met with a member of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) to learn first-hand about the main obstacles in access to justice.

According to the National Registry of Missing and Disappeared Individuals (RNPDNO), currently in the state of Chihuahua 3,461 people are missing or disappeared, although it is estimated that there could be many more due to the number of cases that go unreported due to fear.

On the occasion of the meeting held and in order to socialize the needs of the individuals who are looking for their disappeared family members, we make public our demands, stated before the Committee:

· That effective search actions be carried out, on time, coordinated between the various levels of government, with a sense of urgency and focused on people being found alive.

· To have a system to follow up the investigations of cases whose files are in central Mexico so that families can be kept in the loop without having to spend significant amounts of money or affecting their personal commitments.

· That attention be paid to long-standing cases of disappearance, so that cases are not backlogged as new cases come in, since the former are gradually abandoned as the latter appear.

· That the authorities be sensitized on the issue, to avoid criminalization against the victims and the re-victimization of their loved ones who are looking for them. Furthermore, it is necessary to establish stricter recruitment criteria for those who want to join law enforcement.

· That the necessary measures be taken to safely involve families in search actions; that protocols and actions be defined along with said measures. Furthermore, the conversation about creating public policies on the matter should be decentralized.

· Allocation of sufficient financial, human and technological resources in the government instances charged with providing services related to the issue of disappearances. An adequate budget should be assigned to Prosecutor’s Offices and Search Commissions.

· That the safety of the families and of those who have witnessed an act of disappearance be guaranteed, since the current distrust in authorities not only interferes with the investigation and prosecution of cases, but also prevents people from filing reports.

· That the State Search Commission (CEB) and the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) work independently.

· Implementing the General Law on Enforced Disappearance, Disappearance by Individuals and the National Search System so that the databases can be shared and really compared throughout the country.

· A declaration of absence is not enough to safeguard the well-being of those who are left to their fate after the disappearance of an individual; this procedure and its legal effects must be reviewed and revised according to the needs of the families who are searching for their family member.

· Creating a state search law, with protocols that are mandatory and immediate, since the existing ones are not adapted to the context and are often ignored.

· That the rulings and recommendations by international organizations that have been issued for Mexico be complied with.

· That having civil society organizations accompany the family members of disappeared individuals do not result in differentiated treatment in how cases are served. We demand equitable treatment for victims, whether they are accompanied by an organization or not.

· That the State comply with its obligation to implement outreach and dissemination campaigns so that families are aware of their rights and can access the application of these rights in their cases.

· That the methodology of the Forensic Medical Service of the State of Chihuahua (SEMEFO) to identify and safeguard remains, as well as to notify families be reviewed.

· Reviewing the DNA profiles of the more than 1,700 remains that are unidentified in Chihuahua, and collecting the DNA samples needed to compare the samples.

If taken into account by the Mexican State, the recommendations that may arise from this meeting could and should become a turning point to address the problem of disappearances in Mexico. We will be looking forward to the recommendations and commitments agreed to by the State in relation to the Committee’s visit.

Because we all miss disappeared individuals.

Comité de Madres de Desaparecidos Políticos de Chihuahua

Familias Unidas por la Verdad y la Justicia

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres A.C. (CEDEHM)

Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte A.C.

Centro Para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer AC (CEDIMAC)

Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas A.C.

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Mexico is a country that suffers from a lack of social justice and in which there is still a long way to go to guarantee human rights for all people. Our work is medullary in the demand for truth, justice, and reparation. Continuing this cause is work that cannot cease and doing so requires solidarity and support. If you want to contribute to our cause, you can make your donation through PayPal.

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