México reported lacking policies on disappearances

Impunity is still a major concern when it comes to tackling enforced disappearances in Mexico, a group of United Nations human rights experts said Friday as they outlined recommendations to the government on the prevention, investigation, punishment and reparation of this crime.

Following their two-week visit to the country, which concluded Thursday, members of the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances noted that victims of enforced disappearances lack confidence in the judicial system, police and armed forces.

“Impunity is a chronic and present pattern in cases of enforced disappearances and no sufficient efforts are being carried out neither to determine the fate or whereabouts of persons who disappeared, to punish those responsible nor to provide reparations,” they stated in a news release.

They also highlighted a lack of a comprehensive public policy to deal with the different aspects of enforced disappearances, saying it appears that there is no coordination among federal, local and municipal levels or within the same level of government.

In addition, they emphasized that while the state has a right and duty to respond to public security concerns, including organized crime, addressing this challenge cannot be done at the expense of respect for human rights, nor can the state condone the practice of enforced disappearances.

During their visit, the experts examined the status of the investigations of enforced disappearances, steps taken to prevent and eradicate the problem, what is being done to combat impunity, and other issues, including matters concerning truth, justice and reparations for victims of enforced disappearances.

As part of the mission, they met with a number of federal and state officials in several cities, including the capital, México City, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez and Acapulco.

The experts, who work in an independent and unpaid capacity, will present their report to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council at a session in 2012.

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