Mexico has until June to create new Enforced Disappearance Act

Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, has ensured the UN Committee that by June of this year, Mexico will have a new law in place governing enforced disappearance.

The new law is meant to work toward correcting the number of vast deficiencies in the legal system.

Speaking to the UN Committee, the Undersecretary explains, “The general law on enforced disappearance is an immediate challenge. The Congress sessions began yesterday and we have to make the first constitutional reform and the law before the end of this term in June.”

During the two-day meeting, questions about the overall number of missing people in Mexico were not satisfactorily answered to UN Committee members, particularly for Luciano Hazan and Rainer Huhle, both who have been assigned to deeply investigate the information submitted by Mexico.

Gómez Robledo admitted to the press that, “In the present state of our records, we cannot say there is a unique record of enforced disappearances.” He also admitted that as it is now, the country lacks a registry exclusively for victims of enforced disappearance.

According to numbers from the National Registry of Missing Persons, Amnesty International estimates that between December 2006 and October 2013, there are about 22,000 people unaccounted for in Mexico.

The Mexican government has responded to the review by sending a delegation of 27 people from various Mexican agencies to the UN Conference in Geneva.

According to Amnesty International, enforced disappearance is a legal term for a missing person: An enforced disappearance takes place when a person is arrested, detained or abducted by the state or agents acting for the state, who then deny that the person is being held or conceal their whereabouts, placing them outside the protection of the law.

Very often, people who have disappeared are never released and their fate remains unknown. Their families and friends may never find out what has happened to them.

But the person has not just vanished.  Someone, somewhere, knows what has happened to them. Someone is responsible.  Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law but all too often the perpetrators are never bought to justice.