Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress Made by Mexican State in Implementing Extraordinary Forensic Identification Mechanism

December 16, 2020

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Washington, D.C. -The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the approval of the terms of reference for the profiles to be included in the upcoming selection process for members of the Coordinating Group that will create the work plan to implement the Extraordinary Forensic Identification Mechanism (MEIF).

The IACHR has been closely monitoring the process of creating the MEIF, particularly since the public hearing held in May 2019 during the 172nd Period of Sessions, when the Mexican State acknowledged the humanitarian crisis concerning missing people and the national forensic emergency in Mexico and announced its willingness to create the aforementioned mechanism. The Agreement to Establish the MEIF was approved on December 9, 2019, after working groups were held with high-level State authorities, the relatives of missing people, and civil society organizations, with continual support from international organizations including the IACHR. Subsequently, at its 175th Period of Sessions in March 2020, the IACHR convened a second public hearing to monitor and analyze progress on implementing the MEIF, at which the Mexican State committed to creating job profiles and launching the selection process for the Coordinating Group for the MEIF, in which victims’ families were also involved.

The IACHR is permanently involved as an observer on the committee monitoring the process of establishing the MEIF and is also providing technical assistance. As part of this, those present at the sessions held on December 7 and 8, 2020, finished discussing the terms of reference for the seven job profiles for the Coordinating Group, which will develop the plan for establishing the MEIF, as was announced publicly by the Ministry of the Interior and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which also announced that the call for applications for the selection process would soon be launched. The Coordinating Group will consist of seven local and international experts on forensic and legal matters, international cooperation, and psychological and social support for victims and their families. At the families’ request, the State has been making progress on administrative matters to enable the members of the MEIF Coordinating Group to be hired through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), ensuring that the necessary public budget is available for this purpose. The IACHR welcomed the efforts that the Mexican State has made to guarantee and protect the independence of the MEIF and its technical and financial autonomy. It also called on the State to ensure that the process of hiring the members of the Coordinating Group is carried out smoothly so that they can take up their positions as soon as possible.

The MEIF has been established through a significant, concerted effort on the part of State authorities, the families of missing people, and human rights organizations specializing in forced disappearance, with international human rights organizations acting as observers. The IACHR is pleased to note that the process of creating the MEIF is on the way to becoming a best practice in building a public policy with a human rights focus that guarantees the right of the families of missing people to participate in creating institutions to search for, identify, and return their loved ones to them, as per the terms established by the inter-American system. Although there have been delays in establishing the Coordinating Group, which are partly due to the time needed to implement highly participatory processes, the IACHR encourages the State to maintain its constructive attitude in order to speed up processes whose implementation depends on it.

The IACHR reminds the Mexican State of its permanent obligation to search for missing people until their fate or whereabouts have been established or their remains fully identified and returned to their families with dignity. The IACHR notes once more that the State’s duty to search for missing people requires it to implement comprehensive strategies that exhaust all means and resources at its disposal to search for, locate, release, exhume, identify, and return missing persons. It is thus essential for it to coordinate all authorities and organizations whose cooperation is needed to implement swift, effective, and comprehensive search processes, while eliminating any internal obstacles that impede interinstitutional coordination of this sort.

Finally, the IACHR wishes to pay its respects to the families of missing people and human rights organizations for their tireless commitment to finding their loved ones and for continually seeking to establish and implement the MEIF as soon as possible. It also reiterates its willingness and commitment to continue providing any technical support needed in the process of implementing the MEIF.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 300/20